Bioeconomy is lecture topic by URI’s latest Distinguished Visiting International Scholar, April 26

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KINGSTON, R.I. – March 28, 2016 – James Mittra, senior research fellow in science, technology, and innovation studies at the Innogen Institute at the University of Edinbugh, will present a lecture April 26 at 6:30 p.m. as part of the University of Rhode Island’s Distinguished Visiting International Scholar’s program.

His presentation, which begins at 6:30 p.m. in the URI Center for Biotechnology and Life Sciences in Kingston, is entitled “What Is the Bioeconomy and How Should We Value It?” The event is free and open to the public.

Mittra is a social scientist who studies how the life sciences are affecting innovation in health-related industries. The extent of his research is broad and encompasses health innovation, interdisciplinary collaboration, the intersection of science and society, and other important social issues.

In this lecture, Mittra will introduce the concept of the bioeconomy and reflect on its history and the ways in which it has transformed science, business and policy.

“In exploring the organizational and disciplinary transformations that are continuing apace, I will highlight how an increasingly diverse range of economic and non-economic values and valuation practices are being adopted by key stakeholders,” he said. “Ultimately, I will suggest that the bioeconomy means very different things to different people, and that we must embrace a very broad definition of value if we are to ensure public and commercial investment in ‘new biology’ brings major societal benefits.”

URI Marine Affairs Professor Tracey Dalton, who invited Mittra to campus, said that his research has shown that “people in business, science and across society value innovations in biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries differently. It is critical to understand these different values to address important global challenges. In his lecture, Dr. Mittra will shed light on the economic and non-economic ways that people value these innovations.”

Mittra serves as deputy director of the Graduate School of Social and Political Science and deputy director of the Innogen Institute at the University of Edinburgh. He is also the author of The New Health Bioeconomy: R&D Policy and Innovation for the 21st Century and co-editor of Translational Medicine: The Future of Therapy?

In addition to his public lecture, Mittra will also present a seminar to students and faculty entitled “Challenges and Opportunities in Collaboration between the Natural and Social Sciences: Case Studies from Regenerative Medicine and Agricultural Biotechnology.”

Mittra’s visit is part of URI’s Distinguished Visiting International Scholars Program, which provides funding to bring scholars from outside the United States to meet with URI students, faculty and administrators and present a public lecture.

For more information about the lecture, contact Tracey Dalton at or 401-874-2434.