CABLE is coming to San Francisco – and why that’s a must-read, must-know for the bioeconomy

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In today’s newsflow, NIFA unveiled $21M in grants to accelerate the bioeconomy, and in there was a $2.75M grant to jumpstart a 19-university consortium called CABLE, which you’re going to hear as much about as any other topic in the bioeconomy over the next 12 months.

Why? CABLE’s ambitious aim is to accelerate the entry of young leaders into the bioeconomy — today’s students are tomorrow’s co-founders, CTOs and CEOs. We need those young leaders and we need them to be bioeconomy-ready. That is, armed with the knowledge you need, the skills you’ll pay for, and a mindset that clears obstacles instead of succumbing to them.

CABLE is coming to San Francisco in force next week – at ABLC Next, we’ll have 44 leaders and their faculty advisors on hand — there to encounter, learn, understand you, and prepare themselves to be the leaders of tomorrow we need.

The CABLE rationale

“According to a U.S. Department of Energy study, biobased economic development has the potential to utilize up to a billion tons of renewable biomass as a source for energy, transportation fuel, and products, which can create an estimated 1.1 million jobs in the U.S.,” said Dennis Hall, director of Ohio State’s Ohio Bioproducts Innovation Center. “It can also reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 400 million tons per year.”

In short, a lot of leaders are going to be needed in this sector – commercial and R&D. “The ultimate goal is to increase student engagement, knowledge and skills in the bioeconomy industry to increase the bioeconomic workforce,” Hall said.

Though grounded in scientific R&D, the story of the bioeconomy is in deployment and that will involve chemical and mechanical engineers; biochemists; agricultural engineers; genetic engineers; biologists; commercial product development leaders; lab titans; marketing and branding gurus; IP wizards; financiers; regulation compliance workers, and many more.

OBIC Director, Ohio State’s Dennis Hall, is the visionary behind the consortium.

The CABLE consortium

The grant is part of a three-year project to train the future workforce in the bioeconomy industry.

CABLE will be led by Ohio State, and participating universities include: Alabama A&M University; Auburn University; the University of Arizona; California State University, Fresno; Central State University; Colorado State University; Delaware State University; Iowa State University; Louisiana State University; New Mexico State University; North Carolina State University; North Dakota State University; Oklahoma State University; Rutgers University; the State University of New York; Missouri State University; University of Tennessee; and West Virginia University.

CABLE’s External Advisory Board will include Jennifer Holmgren, CEO of LanzaTech; Atul Thakrar, president of DSM BioBased; Rebecca Boudreaux, president of DSM BioBased; Eric McAfee, CEO of Aemetis; and Mark Riedy, partner, Kilpatrick Townsend.

The project’s goal is to train 60 students over three years in the area of biobased technology to increase the number of students pursuing leadership positions in bioeconomy-related careers, Hall said. The project will recruit a team consisting of a student and faculty member from each of the participating 20 colleges and universities.

The students will spend a year in leadership training in the bioeconomy industry. The training will include one-on-one mentoring with industry leaders, feedback on career preparation and academic training needs, internship and externship opportunities, and workshop and conference participation.

These future leaders are coming to ABLC Next – meet them!

The Digest has invited each of this year’s faculty and student participants to come to ABLC Next in San Francisco (October 16-18, 2017), where they will be networking in the industry’s annual conference as we look at trends, emerging technologies, rising companies — and now, emerging professionals. We’ll have a series of special networking activities to maximize the interaction between these emerging stars and the companies now emerging and growing in the industry. More about ABLC Next, here.

The NIFA grants

In total, six grants were awarded through the Sustainable Bioenergy and Bioproducts Challenge Area, which supports integrated public/private partnerships that lead to industrial production of biobased materials, products and fuels to stimulate jobs, economics development and energy security.

Grants being announced today, by state, include:

University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona,
$7,026,000 – SUSTAINABLE BIOECONOMY FOR ARID REGIONS (SBAR)

University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida,
$7,026,000 – SOUTHEAST PARTNERSHIP FOR ADVANCED RENEWABLES FROM CARINATA (SPARC)

University of Missouri, Rolla, Missouri,
$32,000 – GUAYULE PLANT EXTRACTS AS RECYCLING AGENTS IN HOT MIX ASPHALT WITH HIGH RECLAIMED BINDER CONTENT: AN EXPERIMENTAL PAVING PROJECT

North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina,
$2,750,000 – PREPARING DIVERSE AND RURAL STUDENTS AND TEACHERS TO MEET THE CHALLENGES IN THE BIOENERGY AND BIOPRODUCTS INDUSTRY

The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio,
$2,750,000 – CONSORTIUM FOR ADVANCED BIOECONOMY LEADERS AND EDUCATORS (CABLE)

Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma,
$1,500,000 – OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY SUSTAINABLE BIOENERGY EDUCATION

Reaction from NIFA

“Our nation has made great strides in promoting the bioeconomy,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “Today’s investments will help speed the development of regional systems for sustainable bioenergy, bioproducts, and biomaterials production, and create a strong workforce needed to support the bioeconomy.”