Georgia Institute of Technology is a governing member of the BioIndustrial Manufacturing and Design Ecosystem (BioMADE), a nonprofit that recently won a seven-year, $87 million award from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD).
Created by the Engineering Biology Research Consortium, BioMADE will collaborate with public and private entities to advance sustainable and reliable bioindustrial manufacturing technologies. Headquartered at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul, BioMADE includes some of the largest bioindustrial manufacturing employers in the U.S. working in conjunction with some of the top educators in the world.
In support of this collaboration, the $87 million in DoD funding will be combined with more than $187 million in non-federal cost-share from 31 companies, 57 colleges and universities, six nonprofits, and two venture capital groups across 31 states.
Pamela Peralta-Yahya, faculty member of the Georgia Tech Renewable Bioproducts Institute, and associate professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, is Tech’s representative to BioMADE’s Leadership Council, which will set the organization’s funding priorities.
Peralta-Yahya says, “An incredible cross section of Georgia Tech faculty contributed to the BioMADE proposal; over 30 faculty members, spanning five Schools across the College of Science, College of Engineering, and the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts.”
She notes: “Georgia Tech’s involvement in BioMADE is poised to catalyze interdisciplinary collaborations across the university, from data science and downstream processing to supply chain logistics and the policy, legal, and biosafety implications of bioindustrial applications. The projects funded by BioMADE will give undergraduates and graduate students a springboard to the emerging biomanufacturing and related areas.”
Mark Styczynski, an associate professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Chemical and Biomolecular who is Tech’s representative to the BioMADE Technical Committee, says: “Georgia Tech will be a member of BioMADE at the governing level, the highest level of engagement for academic institutions. We are excited about the resulting opportunities for Georgia Tech to bring to bear its manufacturing, chemical, and biochemical expertise on new applications and focus areas in the biomanufacturing space.”
He adds: “Our involvement in this area is a great complement to other biomanufacturing efforts at Georgia Tech and will contribute to a rapidly growing bioeconomy in Georgia.”
Through a close relationship with DoD and the Military Services, BioMADE will work to establish long-term and dependable bioindustrial manufacturing capabilities for a wide array of products. Anticipated bioindustrial manufacturing applications include the following products: chemicals, solvents, detergents, reagents, plastics, electronic films, fabrics, polymers, agricultural products (e.g. feedstock), crop protection solutions, food additives, fragrances, and flavors.
BioMADE’s efforts will examine and advance industry-wide standards, tools, and measurements; mature foundational technologies; foster a resilient bioindustrial manufacturing ecosystem; advance education and workforce development; and support the establishment and growth of supply chain intermediaries that are essential for a robust U.S. bioeconomy. Other important focus areas include challenges related to biosafety and security and ethical, legal, and societal considerations.
Stefan France, an associate professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Chemistry and Biochemistry is Tech’s representative to BioMADE’s Education and Workforce Committee, which will help craft and implement the organization’s strategic plan.
France explains that this committee “will concentrate its efforts in three major areas: curriculum and training for the bioindustrial workforce, promoting awareness of career opportunities, and coordination across the STEM community, the biomanufacturing ecosystem, and the training pipeline—everything from K-12 to community and technical colleges to four-year colleges, graduate programs, and post-graduate training.”