$2.8 million grant targets biobased careers

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COLUMBUS — Students at The Ohio State University and Central State University, Wilberforce, Ohio, will benefit from a $2.8 million grant designed to develop leaders for the bioeconomy industry nationwide.

Grant

Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) is overseeing a $2.8 million grant from the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to create a consortium of 20 participating universities and industry partners.

The grant is part of a three-year project to train the future workforce in the bioeconomy industry.

Bioproducts

The Consortium for Advanced Bioeconomy Leadership Education (CABLE) will be led by Ohio State, said Dennis Hall, director of Ohio State’s Ohio Bioproducts Innovation Center.

The center works to expedite the commercialization of bioproducts.

Biobased fuels and products are those made from crops and waste from farms that can be sustainably used to create energy, fuels, and biobased products, Hall said.

The project’s goal is to train 60 students over three years in the area of biobased technology to increase the number of students pursuing leadership positions in bioeconomy-related careers, he said.

Those jobs include chemical and mechanical engineers; biochemists; agricultural engineers; genetic engineers and scientists; and regulation compliance workers, among others.

Students

The project will recruit a team consisting of a student and faculty member from each of the participating 20 colleges and universities. The students will spend a year in leadership training in the bioeconomy industry.

The training will include one-on-one mentoring with industry leaders, feedback on career preparation and academic training needs, internship and externship opportunities, and conference participation.

Other universities

In addition to Ohio State and Central State University, participating universities include: Alabama A&M University; Auburn University; the University of Arizona; California State University, Fresno; Colorade State University; Delaware State University; Iowa State University; Louisiana State University; New Mexico State University; North Carolina State University; North Dakota State University; Oklahoma State University; Rutgers University; the State University of New York; Missouri State University; University of Tennessee; and West Virginia University.

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