Project will focus on bioeconomy for a sustainable future
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Aug. 6, 2014) — A University of Kentucky research project submitted by Rodney Andrews, director of the Center for Applied Energy Research, received a Research Infrastructure Improvement (RII) Track-1 award from the National Science Foundation’s (NSF). Kentucky is one of five states, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, to receive the $20 million awards, which bolster science and engineering academic research infrastructure.
Each five-year award will support fundamental research; science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and workforce development in areas relevant to the jurisdictions’ economic and other vital interests.
Each award targets technologically relevant strategic themes. The research, education and outreach activities also consider economic and environmental factors related to the consequences of climate disruption.
Kentucky’s award, “Powering the Kentucky Bioeconomy for a Sustainable Future” will focus on bio-inspired nanocomposite membranes, biomass feedstocks and electrochemical energy storage. The project will drive and accelerate the growth of the emerging bioeconomy within Kentucky through statewide multi-institutional interdisciplinary collaborations that incorporate elements of chemistry, biology, physics and engineering. Strong ties between academic research and industry will confront the Green Grand Challenge, help train students and create jobs for an increasingly larger and diverse science, technology, engineering and mathematics educated workforce. The project provides a STEM-based educational framework that will encourage meaningful participation of under-represented and minority student populations in the emerging knowledge-based economy.