MSU research fuels future of bioeconomy

06-26-2007

It’s easy—and appropriate—to get excited about big grant awards. The approximately $50 million dollars Michigan State University is receiving as part of a $125 million partnership with the University of Wisconsin–Madison and others to form the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) is a landmark: it’s MSU’s largest competitive federal grant designated purely for research activity.

But the U.S. Department of Energy grant is more than a new benchmark in research funding. This bioenergy initiative is a passport to a brighter economic future for Michigan and to an improved quality of life stretching around the globe.

The GLBRC is designed to build on MSU’s historical strengths, leveraging years of basic sciences, especially plant sciences, to solve some of the most complex problems in converting natural materials to energy.

MSU has put together a dream team of scientists, from plant biology and microbial biology, from crop and soil sciences, biochemistry and engineering, to partner with others at research universities, in national laboratories and in industry to unlock the mysteries of how to harvest renewable energy from plants. The goal: a world that relies less on fossil fuels, a country that relies less on imported oil and a world that is kinder to the environment and offers industry profitable alternatives.

That’s a tall order. But it’s an order that has come from our own laboratories and classrooms, from the creative synergy that springs from a diverse, multidisciplinary environment.

This is where Michigan’s future lies. A future that allows our state to compete and thrive underpinned by an economy powered by strategic partnerships among states, research universities and industry with a keen eye on the opportunities both of today and tomorrow.

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