USDA Announces $15.1 Million In Grants For Bioenergy and Bioproducts

On July 20, 2017, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) awarded 34 grants totaling $15.1 million for research on renewable energy, biobased products, and agroecosystems.  The grants, which are funded through the agency’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), are expected to help develop the next generation of renewable energy, bioproducts, and biomaterials; protect the ecosystems that support agriculture; and improve the agricultural systems and processes that help feed the nation.

The following institutions were awarded grants for projects focused on cover crop systems for biofuel production:

  • USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) received $494,000 for the development of lupin, cereal rye, and carinata winter cover crops for biomass in the southern coastal plain;
  • Purdue University received $498,000 for the development of cover cropping for the development of sustainable co-production of bioenergy, food, feed (BFF) and ecosystem services (ES);
  • Iowa State University of Science and Technology received $498,378 for the development of perennial cover crop systems for maize grain and biomass production;
  • Louisiana State University Agricultural Center received $387,000 to study the feedstock production potential of energy cane-sweet sorghum rotation with a winter cover crop system; and
  • University of Nebraska received $500,000 to assess innovative strategies to maximize cover crop yields for biofuel across a precipitation gradient.​​​

The following institutions were awarded grants for projects focused on the socioeconomic implications and public policy challenges of bioenergy and bioproducts market development and expansion:

  • Auburn University received $499,886 to identify the economic barriers to biomass production, to evaluate the effectiveness of the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) in stimulating biomass market expansion, and to explore the economic and ecosystem service implications of biomass production;
  • Colorado State University received $499,000 to produce a unified atlas of marginal lands in the U.S., and provide insight on the costs, potential environmental benefits, and overall practical likelihood of using those lands for biomass feedstock production;
  • Purdue University received $492,099 to develop a dynamic theoretical model on rejuvenating coal-power plants with biomass;
  • Iowa State University of Science and Technology received $499,622 to provide an integrated model-based assessment of the socioeconomic, policy, and market implications of sustainable bioenergy derived from cellulosic biomass; and
  • University of Missouri received $498,441 to evaluate impacts on forest resources surrounding power plants using woody biomass, assess economic impacts of wood biopower systems, and quantify tradeoffs between cost, carbon reductions, and renewable energy generation obtained by the increased use of wood biopower.

More information on the grants is available at the NIFA website.

This post was written by Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D. of Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.

Read more legal analysis at the National Law Review.

New Grants to Help More Students Pursue STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) Careers

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Tonight, I’m announcing a new challenge to redesign America’s high schools so they better equip graduates for the demands of a high-tech economy. And we’ll reward schools that develop new partnerships with colleges and employers, and create classes that focus on science, technology, engineering and math – the skills today’s employers are looking for to fill the jobs that are there right now and will be there in the future. President Obama, 2013 State of the Union

In November 2013, President Obama announced a new $100 million competition launched by the U.S. Department of Labor to help American high schools prepare students for college and for careers in a 21st-century economy.

Computer Science Education Week is a perfect time to highlight this new administration effort — called Youth CareerConnect — to inspire and prepare girls and boys in communities across the country to be the designers, programmers, engineers, and innovators of the future through increasing their access to hands-on, real-world-relevant education and skills.

Through Youth CareerConnect, up to 40 grants will be awarded to partnerships between local schools systems, employers, community colleges or universities, and others that are committed to strengthening America’s talent pipeline and providing students with industry-relevant education to prepare them for college and careers.

Schools and their partners will be challenged to focus on addressing key shortages in “H-1B fields” — occupations tied to the H1-B temporary-visa program, which are predominantly in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

This is an exciting investment that will prepare more American students to be the innovators, researchers, engineers, and entrepreneurs of the future. This initiative also, in part, answers a call by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology in its 2010 report on STEM K-12 Education, Prepare and Inspire, to increase the number of STEM-focused schools across the country.

Applicants will be judged on their efforts to serve a diverse student population, which will ensure access to preparation and training in the STEM fields for girls and minority groups currently underrepresented in many of these careers.

Importantly, the competition builds on the strong focus of OSTP and the White House Council on Women and Girls on increasing girls’ access to STEM fields and represents an important investment to both level the playing field for women and minority students and to provide them with the inspiration, access to career models, hands-on experiences, and rigorous curricula to prepare them to become the engineers, computer scientists and other STEM leaders of the future.

Success in this competition and meeting the broader challenge of giving all students access to real-world-relevant education experiences will require an all-hands-on-deck effort. That’s why Youth CareerConnect calls on businesses and institutions of higher education to join with school districts in putting together proposals to improve college and career readiness for more high school students.

Applications are due Jan. 27, 2014, so learn more at:  http://www.doleta.gov/ycc/


By Danielle Carnival and Kumar Garg.

Editor’s note: The following has been cross-posted from the WhiteHouse.gov blog

Danielle Carnival is a senior policy advisor and Kumar Garg is the assistant director for learning and innovation at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. 

 

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U.S. Department of Labor