Technology Innovation

 

The large scale and complexity of the invasive species issue frequently results in inaction; there is a common belief that, once established, it is no longer logistically or financially feasible to eradicate or control populations of invasive species. This belief limits innovative thinking as well as funding for the scientific and technological advances that could turn a seemingly intractable situation into a resolvable problem. This is a need to: (a) overcome limiting beliefs about scientific and technical capacities for invasion species prevention and management, and (b) foster innovative problem solving.

By partnering with technology innovators and entrepreneurs, federal agencies are inspiring solutions to some of the worst invasive species challenges. We are turning “we can’t” into “we can!” The return on investment? Protected national assets, potentially billions of dollars in savings to the U.S. economy, and job creation across a wide-range of sectors.

The Digital Makerspace

The Digital Makerspace (DMS) is an on-line platform for posting information on some of the worst invasive species problems and inspiring technology innovators to solve them. The invasive species Challenges listed on the DMS create an opportunity for the private sector and donors to invest in technology development. There are prizes for what works…

Learn more about the DMS and register to join the Community.

Digital Makerspace Factsheet

Challenge: Saving the ʻŌhiʻa – Hawaiʻi’s Sacred Tree

Progress Report: The Communities of Practice component of the DMS was created in partnership with Conservation X Labs. It advances Section VI of the 2016-2018 NISC Management Plan as well as Section 4(c) of Executive Order 13751.

Advanced Biotechnologies

Increasingly, genetic tools are being used to detect and solve pressing environmental, social, and health-related challenges. For example, environmental DNA (eDNA) is being employed to detect and monitor the presence of potentially invasive species in water bodies or other moist environments. Advances in gene editing technology are currently being explored as a means to eradicate and control invasive species. By altering the genomes of entire populations of wild organisms, genetic editing may improve capacities to prevent, eradicate and/or control populations of invasive species currently thought to be an indefinite problem. Interest in and support for gene drive technology is growing rapidly. However, there is a need to carefully explore the potential ecological, socio-cultural, and political ramifications of using gene editing technology to address invasive species, including the possibility that gene-edited organisms may spread across ecological and jurisdictional borders. The NISC Secretariat is currently coordinating inter-agency dialogue and a team of non-Federal experts working under the auspices of ISAC to advance the following priority actions called for in the 2016-2018 NISC Management Plan. The Secretariat is also working with the National Academies of Science (NAS) to initiate plans for a study of the social license issues inherent to applying advanced technologies to address invasive species.

MP Action 6.3.1: Conduct an assessment of the potential ecological, socio-economic, and political benefits and costs of gene editing technology in the context of invasive species prevention, eradication, and control.

MP Action 6.3.2: Taking into consideration the output of action 6.3.1, develop guidance for the potential ecological, socio-economic, and political benefits and costs of gene editing technology in the context of invasive species prevention, eradication, and control.

Progress Report:

The Innovation Summit

Innovation Summit Report | Innovation Summit Report Annex | Presentations and Recordings
Summit Agenda | Speaker Bios | Presentation Abstracts | Summit Flyer

The large scale and complexity of the invasive species issue frequently results in inaction; there is a common belief that, once established, it is no longer logistically or financially feasible to eradicate or control populations of invasive species. This belief limits innovative thinking, as well as funding for the scientific and technological advancements that could turn a seemingly intractable situation into a resolvable problem. There is a need to: (a) overcome limiting beliefs about scientific and technical capacities for invasive species prevention and management and (b) foster innovative problem solving. 

MP Action 6.2: Working with scientific and technical institutions, organize and co-host an Innovation Summit that: (a) promotes scientific, technical, and technological advances that can facilitate invasive species prevention, eradication, and control and (b) identifies priority needs for further advances in science and technology that can provide solutions to some of the worst invasive species challenges in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Press:
Invasive innovations: Summit fosters technological solutions to invasive species challenge 
Invasive Species: Entomology’s Role in a Multisector Mission

Progress report: The Innovation Summit was held on December 5th, 2016 at the Smithsonian Institution.