Research and Development to Advance the U.S. Bioeconomy is Focus of New Awards
October 13, 2022
Six awards, funded through a collaboration between NSF's Divisions of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (MCB) and Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental and Transport Systems (CBET) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO), will support projects to conduct research and development that will advance the U.S. bioeconomy.
The awards are made under a funding opportunity titled “Accelerating Innovations in Biomanufacturing Approaches through Collaboration Between NSF and the DOE BETO funded Agile BioFoundry,” which provides support for researchers from institutions of higher education and nonprofits to collaborate with the Agile BioFoundry (ABF). Selected projects leverage the rapid prototyping and advanced biotechnology resources available at the ABF to accelerate basic research projects to deployment.
The selected projects are:
- Washington University in St. Louis will develop a machine learning pipeline to assist strain design of non-model yeasts for biomanufacturing of biofuels and natural products.
- The University of Georgia will use a novel enzyme engineering method to produce industrially important chemicals from renewable sources.
- The University of Wyoming will develop an approach to enable separation of microbial growth and production phases, allowing for higher overall productivity in biofuel production.
- The University of North Texas will develop a methanotroph for greenhouse gas mitigation and conversion biotechnologies.
- The University of California, Irvine and The University of California, Riverside will develop new genetic tools for engineering a non-model yeast with promising features for biofuel production.
- The University of Washington will establish new methods to expand the scope of programmable gene regulation in bacteria, with immediate applications in bioproduction.
Both the NSF and BETO recognize the critical roles that synthetic and engineering biology play in advancing the U.S. bioeconomy. The selected projects all directly contribute to the production of renewable biochemicals and biofuels and build foundational technologies critical for the decarbonization of the industrial and transportation sectors.
Funded by BETO, ABF aims to advance biomanufacturing by uniting and expanding the capabilities of the national laboratories to offer a robust, agile biomanufacturing platform accessible to researchers across the private and public sectors.
ABF partners include Argonne National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, and more than a dozen university and industry partners.
The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2023 budget of $9.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.
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