The Renewable Bioproducts Institute at Georgia Tech benefits from a substantial endowment, which began in 1929 to advance the forest products industry through leadership development and graduate research that addresses current/future needs of this industry. The endowment over the years has produced more than 1,500 graduate scientists and a growing body of scientific research. The research mission of the RBI includes technologies that produce chemicals, biofuels and new materials from forest raw materials including nanocellulose, and the recently awarded fellowships have reflected this evolving portfolio.
Leveraging fellowships to explore new areas of research and to provide matching funds for Federal and other external funding is encouraged and can be a significant benefit to faculty.
Each year, the executive director of RBI issues a Request for Proposals (RFP) to Georgia Tech faculty. Fellowships are awarded to eligible faculty based on alignment with the strategic thrusts of Georgia Tech and RBI, and the research priorities of the forest bioproducts industry.
In recent years, RBI has awarded fellowships in the Integrated Graduate Education and Research (IGER) model and will continue this practice this year. IGER projects typically involve three faculty and three students. RBI is developing a “signature research initiative”, expected to be announced by year-end 2016, in which an IGER proposal could prove particularly appropriate.
Specific focus areas within RBI’s strategic research thrusts are detailed in the RFP. Added emphasis this year within RBI’s three major areas are smart manufacturing, 2-D and 3-D printing, and the Internet of Things for manufacturing.