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August 2, 2023

Industrial Hemp

A new NSF Regional Innovation Engine in Pennsylvania will catalyze the development of a plant-based industrial ecosystem by investing in research, manufacturing facilities and workforce education.

Credit: U.S. National Science Foundation

Industrial hemp has uses in building construction, food packaging, bioplastics, and clothing. We'll look at how a new initiative could spur the economy through research and partnerships in the U.S. National Science Foundation's "Discovery Files."

As the U.S. aims to advance national competitiveness and positively impact regional economies, over 40 new programs are launching from coast to coast that will create localized, high-wage jobs.

The NSF Regional Innovation Engines program catalyzes and fosters innovation ecosystems across the country. One coalition of partners includes an interdisciplinary team of researchers from Penn State and Emory Universities.

The group is working with industry and community partners to increase the development of plant-based products by investing in research, commercial farms, manufacturing facilities and workforce education programs.

Hemp can be used in buildings as fiberboard and insulation, a wide variety of packaging applications including cardboard, and can be used in textiles such as carpets, upholstery or even clothing.

By building upon the historic industrial hemp production of the region, the group will enable supply chain sustainability, support biotech incubation and entrepreneurship education, fuel product development and commercialization while broadening the participation of disadvantaged and underrepresented populations.

To hear more science and engineering news, including the researchers making it, subscribe to "NSF's Discovery Files" podcast.

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