Sen. Carper Announces DSU to Boost Sustainable Bioenergy Education through USDA Grant

WASHINGTON – Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) recently announced that Delaware State University will partner with other universities in the Northeast region to create educational opportunities in math and science for students interested in bioenergy and bio-based products. The project is funded by a grant awarded to Cornell University by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

“Bioenergy and bio-based products represent an important emerging market that holds a great deal of economic potential for Delaware’s agriculture industry,” said Sen. Carper. “This U.S. Department of Agriculture grant will boost sustainable bioenergy education, providing students in Delaware with the tools and training necessary to be successful in the global energy industry workforce. I’m glad that Delaware State University will have the opportunity to take part in this common-sense program, especially as our nation looks for additional opportunities to lead in the energy industry.”

NIFA awarded Corinne Rutzke at Cornell Univeristy $4,999,940 to provide teachers from grades 8 through the undergraduate level with a strong footing in multi-disciplinary content and research-based training materials and activities linked to the Northeast’s projected feedstock systems. Information will be shared to help teachers prepare students for the various career options available in the bioenergy and bio-based products field. Rutzke will partner with researchers at Delaware State University, the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore, Pace Law School and Ohio State University.

The project, along with a similar grant awarded to the University of Wisconsin, is funded for five years through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI). AFRI’s sustainable bioenergy challenge area funds grants targeting the development of regional systems for the sustainable production of bioenergy and bio-based products that contribute significantly to reducing dependence on foreign oil, have net positive social, environmental and rural economic impacts and are compatible with existing agricultural systems.

AFRI is NIFA’s flagship competitive grant program and was established under the 2008 Farm Bill. AFRI supports work in six priority areas: 1) plant health and production and plant products; 2) animal health and production and animal products; 3) food safety, nutrition and health; 4) renewable energy, natural resources and environment; 5) agriculture systems and technology; and 6) agriculture economics and rural communities.

Through federal funding and leadership for research, education and extension programs, NIFA focuses on investing in science and solving critical issues impacting people’s daily lives and the nation’s future. More information is available at