Application Sectors of Engineering Biology for Climate & Sustainability
The roadmap Application Sectors focus on climate-friendly, sustainable engineering biology tools, technologies, and solutions for everyday consumables, materials, and products. The Food & Agriculture theme addresses specific opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from food production and waste and towards making agriculture and food systems more robust to climate change. The Transportation & Energy theme addresses opportunities in biofuels, electricity production and storage, and reducing emissions from transportation, shipping, and aviation. Finally, the Materials Production & Industrial Processes theme identifies opportunities in the built environment, textiles, and other consumer products for reducing the anthropogenic carbon footprint, reducing toxins and wastes, and recovering economically-valuable resources sustainably.
The Goals and Breakthrough Capabilities in each theme are societal-level concerns and are written to be more approachable for non-technical audiences and those with expertise outside of engineering biology and related fields, identifying challenges they are likely to be familiar with regardless of their background or current role in addressing the climate crisis and sustainability challenges. The Milestones speak directly to the engineering biology tools and technologies that will need to be developed or enabled to achieve the Goals and Breakthrough Capabilities and are laid out over short-, medium-, and long-term timeframes, indicative of the resources, infrastructure, and other advancements necessary to their achievement. The Bottlenecks and Potential Solutions illustrate specific technical challenges that the engineering biology research community can attend to towards realizing each milestone.
Short-term Milestones are expected to be about 2-5 years away from achievement, representing research that is currently funded (or where funding opportunities exist) or could be accomplished with existing resources. Medium-term Milestones are tools and technologies anticipated to be achieved in approximately 5-10 years; these research areas likely need funding (including new grant/award programs) or infrastructure development, and other support at the institutional or federal level. Long-term Milestones are anticipated to be 10-20+ years from realization and, in most if not all cases, would require new funding, infrastructure, or other resources (including significant tool and technology development).