NIFA invests $5.4M in bioprocessing, bioengineering research

By USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture | June 30, 2021

USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture announced today an investment of $5.4 million in bioprocessing, bioengineering, biofuels and biobased products research. NIFA recently awarded $4.8 million for 12 Bioprocessing and Bioengineering grants(link is external) under NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, and more than $600,000 for six Biofuels and Biobased Products grants(link is external) under NIFA’s Small Business Innovation Research program.
“NIFA’s Bioprocessing and Bioengineering awards fund projects that will stimulate new trade opportunities for the U.S. bioeconomy,” said NIFA director Dr. Carrie Castille. “Additionally, these Small Business Innovation Research projects focused on biofuels and biobased products strengthen America’s entrepreneurial spirit and support a robust economy by guiding research and development needs across agriculture.”
Examples of Bioprocessing and Bioengineering grants(link is external) recently awarded include:

    •North Dakota State University’s project to develop a new class of safe, effective and versatile fire retardants ($192,924).

    •USDA Agricultural Research Service’s project that will engineer advanced antimicrobial biopolymers from ag-based non-edible waste oil to kill bacteria actively and repeatedly ($450,00).

    •University of Idaho’s project to develop an environmentally friendly approach for wood protection ($329,888).

Small Business Innovation Research is a highly competitive program that encourages domestic small businesses to engage in Federal research and development that has the potential for commercialization. This includes qualified small businesses that stimulate high-tech innovation.
Examples of Biofuels and Biobased Products grants(link is external) awarded through this program include:

    •Meredian Bioplastics, Inc.’s (Bainbridge, Georgia) project to explore manufacturing potential for using pennycress, a non-edible oil, in developing biodegradable plastic ($99,488).

    •Formology, Inc.’s, (Portland, Oregon) project that will use hazelnut shell byproducts to create environmentally sustainable specialty wood and natural fiber panels for architecture and design/build markets ($98,132).

    •Insectapel, LLC’s (Wellford, South Carolina) project that will create an effective, extended-release repellent within textile products (fabric) to prevent blood-sucking insects from biting humans and transferring infectious disease ($100,000).

The next Phase 1 request for Small Business Innovation Research applications is scheduled to open in July 2021, with an October 2021 deadline. This program also fosters and encourages participation by women-owned and socially or economically disadvantaged small businesses. Learn more about USDA’s Small Business Innovation Research program.