USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture has awarded two grants that will create educational opportunities in math and science for students interested in bioenergy and bio-based products. Roger Beachy, director of NIFA, says these two significant investments will help jumpstart the U.S. education system towards ensuring that we have enough workers with the multi-disciplinary and problem-solving skill sets to help America address its energy challenges.
"Bioenergy and bio-based products hold vast potential as the foundation for new technologies and opportunities that could have a large impact on rural economies," Beachy said. "But these innovations require a trained and skilled workforce to meet the needs of new 'bio-economies."
Nearly $5 million was awarded to Cornell University's Corinne Ruzke to work with teachers to give them a strong foundation in multi-disciplinary content and research-based training materials and activities linked to the Northeast's projected feedstock systems.
Richard Amasino from the University of Wisconsin received nearly $4.7 million to strengthen the regional K-16 education system, especially at underserved schools, by supporting teacher learning in matter, energy and ecosystem concepts. Students will have opportunity to do research through partnerships with Michigan State University and College of the Menominee Nation.
The AFRI program was established under the 2008 Farm Bill and supports six priority areas. To learn more visit www.nifa.usda.gov.