Georgia Tech’s Renewable Bioproducts Institute (RBI) has announced issuance of a request for proposals for 2018 fellowship grants under the RBI Endowment. Proposals are due February 15, 2018.
Executive Director Norman Marsolan issued the call to chairs of the four schools affiliated with RBI, faculty currently advising RBI Fellows, and a number of professors working in fields relevant to RBI strategic focus areas. The RBI strategic thrusts are Biorefining and Biochemicals; Biocomposites and Nanocellulose; and Operational Excellence (which includes pulp and paper process improvement, as well as product innovation).
“We expect to award seven fellowships in March of 2018—possibly eight,” said Norman Marsolan, RBI's executive director. “Research aligned with the priority needs of the forest products industry is the principal criterion for selecting a proposal. These industry priorities are articulated by the Alliance for Pulp & Paper Technology Innovation (APPTI – formerly, Agenda 2020). The level of funding is determined by the earnings of the RBI endowment.
“Our mission is not only to create a body of knowledge to support the industry, but to prepare leaders to advance the industry,” Marsolan continued. “Over the years, more than 1,500 endowment-supported fellows have been provided to forest bioproducts and other companies, academia, and national laboratories.”
Funding pursuant to these awards will commence in fall 2018, for the 2018-19 academic year. The Fellowships provide stipend and tuition support for up to four years. The 2018 awards will be in addition to the existing RBI Fellowships also funded by endowment income. RBI awarded eight Fellowship in fall 2017 and will spend an estimated $1.86 million on stipend, tuition and fees during FY 2018. About 40 Georgia Tech graduate students are currently supported by RBI fellowships.
This year, RBI is again encouraging Integrated Graduate Education and Research (IGER) proposals, requiring collaboration by three faculty of at least two Georgia Tech schools.
“The ‘IGER’ approach allows expanded investment in an idea,” Marsolan observed, "and emphasizes interdisciplinary research—a strategic advantage of RBI, and a great benefit to the experience of our students.”
The RBI-affiliated schools are Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (ChBE), Materials Science and Engineering (MSE), and Mechanical Engineering (ME) in the College of Engineering, and Chemistry and Biochemistry (CHEM) in the College of Science. Faculty from other schools may participate by collaborating with a faculty member from one of the affiliated schools.