Kansas pushes in bioscience race–but this ain't the new nuts-and-bolts industry

Passing the Kansas Economic Growth Act was only the first of many efforts the state is making to position itself as a player in the bioscience boom. They’re conducting a week of summit meetings; they’ve got the founder of New Economy Strategies in Washington, D.C. helping them create the state’s bioscience road map over the next six months. “With 40 states now targeting the bioscience industry and its high-paying jobs–and the new Kansas Bioscience Authority now funneling bioscience-related tax revenue into new research, businesses and products–the pressure is on for Kansas to find and capitalize on its niche,” says this Wichita Eagle article. At the same time, they worry that the region’s leaders won’t work together enough to put real muscle behind the effort.

As a seasoned industry expert observed yesterday during a bioscience meeting in Cleveland, Ohio, it’s nice to see a new source of jobs and growth emerging to take the place of the old manufacturing order. Clearly, this is happening in a lot of places in the United States–but bioscience is not as simple to understand as nuts and bolts. The end products are much more complex, and a great deal of the work touches on areas humans have traditionally left to the priests and the philsosophers. In vitro fertilization, stem cell research, cloning and other processes raise all kinds of questions no one’s ever had to think much about before.

This is a race that will not be run full out, with eyes closed and only the goal (of economic growth and jobs) in mind. This is a race that will call upon all the intelligence, skills and soulfulness mankind can muster.