The Renewable Bioproducts Institute (RBI) Members’ Council came to Georgia Tech Wednesday, October 4. Highlights of the day included tours of research, innovation, and business incubator sites as well as a student mixer, in addition to the regular meeting. And four students gave “TED-Like Talks”, patterned after TED Talks—shorter and less elaborate, yet similarly creative.
The Members’ Council is comprised of representatives of pulp, paper, and bioproducts companies who enjoy a tailored level of engagement with RBI in return for nominal dues. Membership benefits include on-site days like this one, concierge access to the broad capabilities across Georgia Tech, opportunities for interaction with the more than 40 graduate research fellows supported by the endowment, influence over the research portfolio, and much more.
Members toured the Advanced Technology Development Center, a technology incubator for the State of Georgia with a global reputation for fostering technological entrepreneurship and the mission of helping startups succeed. Next was the Mechanical Engineering Invention Studio in the Manufacturing Research Development Center. The Studio is a student-run makerspace open to all Georgia Tech students.
A visit to emerging capability for characterization of spent kraft pulping liquor and testing of membrane separation configurations (Scott Sinquefield, PhD, PI) rounded out the morning. The capability is jointly funded by RBI and 5 sponsor companies.
About forty graduate students joined the member representatives for lunch at small tables designed to facilitate conversation. In advance of the day, students had indicated their interest in particular companies, and member companies perused RBI’s abstract catalog to select students they wanted to meet—and the matchup occurred. Since there were two half-hour sessions, students met with two companies and companies met about ten students each. Given the enthusiasm of members and students, this inaugural event will be repeated on future campus days.
The afternoon meeting addressed topics including the upcoming request for proposals for 2018 fellowship awards; the executive conference March 6-7; engagement options; and others.
The Council next meets onsite March 5-6, 2018, in advance of the conference.