The Industrial Affiliates program is a joint effort between the Integrated Bioprocessing Research Laboratory (IBRL) and the Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation (CABBI) to engage industry in cutting-edge bioprocessing technologies and to provide the necessary means to de-risk new intellectual property for efficient and successful transitions to commercialization.
The biotechnology market is growing rapidly and will represent a $700-billion industry by 2025. Much of this growth can be attributed to new technologies developed at research institutions. However, moving technologies from those research institutions to commercial adoption is not always a straightforward process. Since the amount of venture capital invested in energy companies can fluctuate significantly over time, other mechanisms need to be considered to de-risk technologies and to improve the rate at which they move from the research laboratory to commercialization.
THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS SOLUTION
In 2017, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and its partners received $115 million from the Department of Energy (DOE) for the establishment of a bioenergy research center; CABBI will be a leader in the scientific advancements to make advanced bioproducts and biofuels a reality. A crucial component of realizing a vibrant bioeconomy is the ability to prove technologies at an industrially-relevant scale. Critical to the DOE proposal was the new IBRL on the U of I campus—a state-of-the-art pilot plant, part of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES), and host to a complete suite of resources designed to enable pilot-scale testing of renewable materials, new equipment, and processes by industry as well as academia. Unique IBRL resources include facility space, wide equipment availability, dedicated support staff, and access to the intellectual capital housed at the University of Illinois.
BECOMING AN INDUSTRIAL AFFILIATE
Companies interested in both the technologies developed by CABBI as well as the capabilities offered by IBRL would be well-suited to become an industrial affiliate. Through the Industrial Affiliates program, companies pay an annual fee of $10,000. For this membership fee, companies receive an invitation to an annual industrial conference and technology showcase. This event allows stakeholders to come together and discuss current developments in bioprocessing and bioenergy. The technology showcase gives affiliates a first look at newly developed technologies and early access to the associated intellectual property. This intellectual property can be de-risked by scaling up at the IBRL, where industrial affiliates will have access to the facility and the resources offered there.
For more information:
Executive Director, IBRL
Associate Director of Business Development, IBRL