Growing the Nation’s Bio-economy through Science and Engineering!
Land grant institutions lead the way
The roots of our nation’s land grant institutions run broad and deep, reaching into every county in the nation. This well established system of dedicated people and frontier research has proven the ideal ground for sprouting the foundations of the new bio-based industries in the rural economy. The Sun Grant Initiative expands the role of Land Grant Institutions to address issues of national energy security and rural economic development. In 2007, the Sun Grant programs, in association with the US Department of Energy, US Department of Agriculture and US Department of Transportation are funding more than 9 million annually in biobased research from 2007-2010. Funding for the 2008 Northeast Region Competitive Grants program is from the US Department of Transportation. More than 70 participants from the Land Grant Institutions of the Northeast Sun Grant Region have developed a Roadmap of Research, Education and Outreach Priorities for the Northeast Region. “A Strategic Roadmap for the Northeast Region of the Sun Grant Research Initiative”,originally developed in 2004 is used today by the Northeast Sun Grant Steering Committee as a guide to set priorities for the regional competitive grants program.
At the gate of the next green revolution
Biotechnology research in the Northeast Region Sun Grant States is actively advancing at each of the Land Grant Institutions in the Region. The Northeast Land Grant Institutions bring strong research and development capabilities to meet the challenges of the Sun Grant Initiative. The Sun Grant Initiative opens the gateway to bring the best in science, engineering, and agriculture together at the revolution occurring in biotechnology. The Sun Grant Initiative programs hold the potential to bring a second green revolution to the US and Northeast Region rural communities.
Background of the Sun Grant Initiative
The Sun Grant Research Initiative Act of 2003 advances the research, development and implementation of bioenergy and bioproducts technologies in the United States. The Sun Grant Research Initiative Act of 2003 was introduced to the US Congress by Senator T. Daschle (SD) and Senator W. Frist (TN) and was first authorized under Title IX, Section 9011 of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002. The US Department of Agriculture has provided annual planning grant funds from 2002 to the present to the 5 Regional Sun Grant Centers of Excellence. In the Northeast Region, these funds have been utilized to identify and build a consensus on research, education and outreach priorities for the region. Senators Daschle and Frist also introduced language including funding for the Sun Grant Initiative into the 2005 Federal Highway Bill, which passed the House and Senate and was signed by President Bush, August 10, 2005. The appropriation allows funding for 4 years, to be divided between the National Soybean Board and the 5 Sun Grant Center from the Highway Trust Fund.
The Sun Grant Initiative taps the intellectual resources of our nation’s great land grant institutions for addressing issues of national energy security, economic diversification in rural areas, environmental sustainability of agricultural production and bioenergy and bioproducts research competitiveness.
The Sun Grant Initiative Act of 2003 objectives are to:
- Enhance national energy security through the development, distribution, and implementation of biobased energy technologies;
- Promote diversification in, and the environmental sustainability of agricultural production in the United States through biobased energy and product technologies;
- Promote economic diversification in rural areas of the United States through biobased energy and product technologies; and
- Enhance the efficiency of bioenergy and biomass research and development programs through improved coordination and collaboration between the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Energy, and the land-grand colleges and universities.
Implementation of a bio-based economy
A critical focus of the Sun Grant Initiative is rural economic diversification and development through strong commitment to the implementation of new technologies into the marketplace to reduce our dependence on foreign sources of petroleum. The Northeast Region is home to over 400 companies with a specific interest in biotechnology or biobased products. The creation of a new biobased economy will lead to the creation of new jobs in the Northeast Region, as new infrastructures and new biobased industrial complexes are constructed.