The Bioeconomy to 2030

Designing a Policy Agenda

image of The Bioeconomy to 2030

The biological sciences are adding value to a host of products and services, producing what some have labelled the “bioeconomy” and offering the potential to make major socio-economic contributions in OECD countries.  Using quantitative analyses of data on development pipelines and R&D expenditures from private and public databases, this book estimates biotechnological developments to 2015. Moving to a broader institutional view, it also looks at the roles of R&D funding, human resources, intellectual property, and regulation in the bioeconomy, as well as at possible developments that could influence emerging business models to create scenarios to 2030. These scenarios are included to stimulate reflection on the interplay between policy choices and technological advances in shaping the bioeconomy. Finally, the book explores policy options to support the social, environmental and economic benefits of a bioeconomy.

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What External Factors Will Drive the Bioeconomy to 2030?

Several factors will drive the emerging bioeconomy by creating opportunities for investment. A major factor is increasing population and per capita income, particularly in developing countries. The global population is expected to reach 8.3 billion in 2030, with 97% of the growth occurring in developing countries. GDP is expected to grow by 4.6% per year in developing countries and by 2.3% in OECD countries. These trends in population and income, combined with rapid increases in educational achievement in China and India, indicate not only that the bioeconomy will be global, but that the main markets for biotechnology in primary production (agriculture, forestry and fishing) and industry could be in developing countries. Increases in energy demand, especially if combined with measures to reduce greenhouse gases, could create large markets for biofuels. An expected increase in elderly populations, both in China and in OECD countries, will increase the need for therapies to treat chronic and neurodegenerative diseases, some of which will be based on biotechnology. Many countries and healthcare providers will try to reverse rapidly increasing healthcare costs. Biotechnology provides possible solutions to reduce the cost of pharmaceutical R&D and manufacturing. Alternatively, biotechnology could improve the cost-effectiveness of health therapy, so that expensive treatments provide commensurate and significant improvements to health and the quality of life.

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