US Department of Energy to provide $75 million for biofuel crop research

The US Department of Energy (DOE) plans to provide up to $75 million (€67.4 million) over a five-year period for research to develop sustainable bioenergy crops, which are resistant to environmental stress and changing environmental conditions.

“With this research, the US will lead the way in laying the agricultural foundation for the emerging bioeconomy,” said undersecretary for science Paul Dabbar. “It’s critical for crops grown for bioenergy and bioproducts to be able to survive and thrive under marginal growing conditions and maintain resiliency to environmental stresses and changes to avoid competing with food production.”

Research supported by the funding will focus on better understanding the genetic and physiological mechanisms influencing plant productivity, resource use and resistance to environmental stress, among other areas.

Researchers are expected to take advantage of several advanced ‘omics’ tools and techniques, including genomics, proteomics and metabolomics. They will also be encouraged to draw on the resources of DOE Office of Science user facilities, including the DOE Joint Genome Institute at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, among others.

Applications for the funding will be open to universities, industry and non-profit research institutions. Funding will be awarded competitively, based on peer review, and is expected to be in the form of five-year grants ranging from $1-3 million (€0.9-2.7 million) per year.

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