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Penn State Awarded $1M for Developing Industrial Hemp Projects

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Penn State researchers received $1 million from the National Science Foundation to help fund the development of the Pennsylvania Industrial Hemp Engine, an effort to support the manufacture and deployment of bio-based products for greener construction, packaging, renewable energy, and more.

Researchers at Penn State have received a $1 million National Science Foundation (NSF) Engines Development Award which will fund the development of the Pennsylvania Industrial Hemp Engine (PAIHE).  

The PAIHE, one of 44 projects funded nationally by the inaugural round of NSF awards, will support the manufacture and deployment of bio-based products for application in green building construction, packaging, fabrics, renewable energy, and land remediation. 

In a statement, Penn State President Neeli Bendapudi said the PAIHE launch reflects the university’s “commitment to groundbreaking research and to fostering economic development that enriches and empowers” the commonwealth.

“This is an effort undertaken in partnership with business, agriculture, government and fellow institutions of higher education – demonstrating the transformative power of public-private partnership and collaboration across industries and disciplines. I am grateful for the support of the National Science Foundation, and for the many partners who are helping make this important work possible.” — Bendapudi in a press release 

Penn State is partnering with Vytal Plant Science Research (VPSR), a nonprofit biotechnology corporation based in Hazleton, Pennsylvania; Emory University; Wharton School of Business; Ben Franklin Technology Partners; the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture; and several farms and private industries throughout the state to launch PAIHE.    

NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan described the awardees as “part of the fabric of NSF’s vision to create opportunities everywhere and enable innovation anywhere.” 

“They will build robust regional partnerships rooted in scientific and technological innovation in every part of our nation. Through these planning awards, NSF is seeding the future for in-place innovation in communities and to grow their regional economies through research and partnerships,” Panchanathan said in a statement. “This will unleash ideas, talent, pathways and resources to create vibrant innovation ecosystems all across our nation.” 

Link to original story on Ganjapreneur

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