Presentation of the third annual George Washington Carver Award will recognize significant contributions by an individual in the field of industrial biotechnology, including applications in biological engineering, environmental science, biorefining and biobased products. The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) today announced that it is accepting nominations for the 2010 George Washington Carver Award, which will be presented at the 2010 World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioprocessing, June 27-30, 2009 in Washington, D.C.
BIO is now accepting nominations for the George Washington Carver Award online at bio.org/worldcongress/program/carver.asp. Nominees must be living individuals who have demonstrated significant and innovative accomplishments employing industrial biotechnology to advance a biobased economy and industrial sustainability. The deadline for nominations is April 12, 2010.
Brent Erickson, executive vice president of BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section, said, “Our annual award honors George Washington Carver because he was one of the founding fathers of modern industrial biotechnology. His efforts inspire modern industrial biotechnology companies that are developing new methods to use renewable agricultural resources to manufacture fuels, plastics, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and food ingredients, just as Carver did during the first half of the 20th century. Science has developed in ways that Carver may never have imagined, but the work remains true to his goal – a sustainable agricultural economy that includes production of useful everyday products.”
The award honors the original vision of George Washington Carver who, over a century ago, achieved world renown by using agriculture and science to produce everyday products, changing the nature of farm economics and sustainability. Carver was an originator of the “chemurgy” movement and devoted his career to teaching sustainable farming, which for him included developing new uses of agricultural products that could boost farm profits. To help farmers adopt sustainable practices, Carver and his students developed more than 300 industrial uses for peanuts, sweet potatoes, and other crops that could be grown in rotation with cotton and corn. Carver’s inventions included plastics, glue, soaps, paints, dyes for cloth and leather, medicines and cosmetic ingredients made from peanuts, sweet potatoes, or other crops and agricultural residues. Accompanying the award will be a George Washington Carver scholarship given in the name of the recipient.
Today, companies are using industrial biotechnology to manufacture plastics, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and even food ingredients from renewable agricultural resources. The George Washington Carver Award will honor individuals in the private sector, government or academia who have worked toward the important goal of using industrial biotechnology innovation to develop sustainable bio-based value-chains.
BIO presented the first annual George Washington Carver Award in 2008 to Dr. Patrick Gruber, CEO, Gevo, Inc., recognizing his accomplishments in creating and commercializing a new plastic made from annually renewable resources. As vice president and chief technology officer of Cargill Dow LLC/NatureWorks from 1997 to 2005, Gruber spearheaded the market introduction of NatureWorks™ PLA and Ingeo™ fibers. He oversaw the construction and launch in 2000 of the first large-scale manufacturing facility for a material developed from 100 percent annually renewable resources. He led the company’s efforts of continual process and technology improvement, making NatureWorks™ PLA a major influence in the global plastic and fibers markets.
In 2009, BIO presented the award to DuPont Chairman of the Board Charles O. Holliday, Jr., recognizing his commitment to industrial biotechnology as a tool for sustainable business growth. During Holliday’s tenure as CEO, DuPont invested in biology-based businesses and infused them with its chemistry know-how. For instance, DuPont partnered with sugar processor Tate & Lyle to manufacture 1,3 propanediol, a polyester ingredient made by fermenting sugar. That venture led the company to think about applying its fermentation expertise to making renewable fuels and chemicals in a biorefinery.
The annual World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioprocessing is the original and only conference dedicated solely to industrial biotechnology and the most recent advancements in the field. The conference web site is bio.org/worldcongress.
All programs at the World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioprocessing are open to attendance by members of the media. Registration for the World Congress is complimentary for credentialed members of the news media. Reporters and editors working full-time for print, broadcast, and online news organizations may register onsite with valid media credentials. All freelancers, college and online publications are strongly encouraged to register in advance. For more information, please visit bio.org/worldcongress/media/media_registration.asp.