December 3, 2020
Note from the Executive Director

Reflections on 2020

I had many exciting plans when I began as Executive Director of RBI in February. Little did I know that by mid-March, Georgia Tech would shut down research activities due to COVID-19. I am grateful that to my knowledge relatively few staff, faculty and students have become ill. At the same time, I acknowledge the pandemic has taken a toll on those in RBI’s community who have had sick family members, lost loved ones or who face long-term side effects. I am also grateful for the many ways the RBI community came together during this strange ‘new normal’. I’m proud of the RBI faculty, staff, students and member company representatives. Your work in 2020 has contributed to our leadership in the nation and world in renewable bioproduct research and development. Here are just a few examples:
  • COVID-19 mitigation efforts included contributing to the GT team that supplied 7000 gallons of hand sanitizer to campus and to other Georgia facilities, led by Seth Marder (CHEM) and involving expertise in nonwoven materials contributed by Chris Luettgen (CHBE, RBI Associate Director).
  • RBI added two new strategic coordinators to its leadership team: Kyriaki Kalaitzidou (ME, Coordinator for Circular Materials) and Pamela Peralta-Yahya (CHEM, Coordinator for Bioindustrial Technology). Their addition reflects RBI’s new emphasis on the circular economy and applying synthetic biology to advance renewable products.
  • PSE fellowship PhD students, unable to carry out lab work from March to July, pivoted and used the time to focus on analysis of results and writing papers. When labs re-opened in July, these students engaged in a safe return to campus research work by following plans for reduced density, mask usage and surveillance testing.
  • We carried out our first virtual, international Biorefinery Workshop in October. Organized by Matthew Realff (ChBE, RBI Strategic Coordinator for Biorefining Systems) and Ryan Lively (ChBE, Integrated Separations Science and Engineering Center), attracted over 70 attendees from 12 countries.
  • Two PSE fellows, Nasreen Khan won first-place in the 2020 Mars-Wrigley Sustainability Packathon, for their
RBI member companies and their representatives have been flexible and responsive in carrying out their important work remotely, including reviewing fellowship proposals and providing guidance. As we enter into this holiday season in the U.S., I wish each of you peace and happiness, that you will stay healthy, and enjoy the presence of family and friends.  I look forward to continuing our work building a strong RBI research community with you in 2021.

Carson Meredith, Executive Director
Renewable Bioproducts Institute
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Funding Opportunities
NSF 21-527 Environmental Convergence Opportunities in Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems (ECO-CBET)
Available Formats:
Document Number: nsf21527
The purpose is to bring together groups from chemical process systems backgrounds with experts in environmental science and sustainability, to achieve unique solutions to environmental and sustainability challenges. Three priority topics are (1) greenhouse gas mitigation, (2) managing the nitrogen cycle, (3) water recovery and re-use. Preliminary proposals are due February 11, 2021. Teams must have at least three investigators with distinct expertise. Funding level is $1.5 to $1.7 million over 4 years.
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20-611 NSF Sustainable Regional Systems Research Networks

2021 Wood Innovations Funding Opportunity
Department of Agriculture Forest Service

DOE Basic Energy Sciences FOA

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Job Opportunity

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Assistant Professor-Chemical Engineering-(FAC001599)

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