The Sun Grant Initiative is a national network of land-grant universities and national laboratories partnering to help build a bio-based economy.
Land-grant universities have over 150 years of experience in agricultural and natural resource research, with a network of field-based research sites in every major biogeographic zone in every state and territory of the country. They are at the forefront of research and innovation involving bioenergy and biofuels production, and have a unique tradition of sharing the results of their research by working with farmers, ranchers and foresters through extension outreach in the community and classroom education efforts. The Sun Grant Initiative builds on this successful history and harnesses the land-grant network to tackle the new challenges of developing bio-based transportation fuels, biopower, and new bio-based products.
The Sun Grant Initiative facilitates communication and partnership development between universities, national laboratories, federal and state governments, the private sector and public interest groups to lead the nation towards a renewable, sustainable, domestic energy industry. Sun Grant Centers are also charged with reviving America’s farming communities by placing an emphasis on rural economic development through the production of biobased renewable energy feedstocks.
Through development, distribution, and implementation of bio-based energy technologies, the Sun Grant Initiative will:
- Enhance national energy security.
- Provide opportunities for rural economic development in America’s traditional agricultural communities.
- Promote environmentally sustainable and diversified production opportunities for agricultural and forestry resources.
- Encourage further bioenergy research collaboration between government agencies and land-grant colleges and universities.
Congress authorized the Sun Grant Initiative in the 2002 and 2008 Farm Bills. Sun Grant efforts are supported with funds from the U.S. Departments of Energy, Agriculture and Transportation.
Charged with implementing the Initiative’s goals for furthering a bio-based economy are five regional land-grant universities that have each lead the way in researching bioenergy and biomass production. The National Sun Grant Association is comprised of representatives of each of the Sun Grant Centers. The Association coordinates activities on a national level to ensure that the regional centers are as effective as possible. The regional Sun Grant Centers operate through:
- Pennsylvania State University
- Oklahoma State University
- Oregon State University
- South Dakota State University
- University of Tennessee
In addition to enhancing its own efforts in bioenergy and biomass research, each regional Sun Grant Center is charged with administering a regional competitive grants program for land-grant institutions. Multidisciplinary and multi-state projects are encouraged, and the Sun Grant centers have formed an association that will share research results and report findings on a national scale.