Opportunities for Growth: Leveraging the Power of the Bio-Economy


Advances in biological science, rising oil prices and renewed interest in environmental sustainability have all converged to create demand for bio-based products and chemicals. Creating a new bio-economy represents a crucial opportunity to generate industry growth and support job creation.

In partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Milken Institute convened a Financial Innovations Lab in Washington, D.C. to focus on innovative market strategies to increase investment and support growth in production and capacity of new bio-based products.

Bio-based products and chemicals can often be produced in fewer steps than their fossil-based counterparts. And despite early disappointments in profits from the biofuels market, there is healthy interest in biochemicals and next-generation fuels and products, which often have stronger profit margins and solid market demand. As economic growth returns, there will be a substantial increase in demand for these bio-based products.

The Lab explored the most effective models for public-private partnerships and potential mechanisms to foster collaborations and attract new investment. It brought together a diverse group of experts and decision-makers from government agencies, industry, academia, technology and finance. The session included discussions led across departments at the USDA, including Rural Development; Research, Education and Economics; and the office of the Chief Economist.

Results from the Lab, including recommended next steps for implementation, can be found here. For more information, contact Caitlin MacLean, senior manager of Financial Innovations Labs, at cmaclean@milkeninstitute.org.