New courses in biorenewables leverage Iowa NSF EPSCoR

The Biorenewable Resources and Technology (BRT) Program at Iowa State University is growing with the help of Iowa NSF EPSCoR support and faculty expertise. The graduate program was the first in biorenewable resources established in the United States. It pulls faculty from 16 academic departments and five colleges for a truly interdisciplinary experience.

Iowa NSF EPSCoR plays a role in supporting current and new courses. According to BRT director of graduate education Jacqulyn Baughman, the BRT graduate committee identified a list of needed courses based on current gaps in the BRT curriculum. The BRT graduate committee includes College of Engineering faculty Mark Wright, who is an assistant professor of mechanical engineering, and Tom Brumm, who is a professor in agricultural and biosystems engineering.

Robert Brown, who is an Anson Marston Distinguished Professor in Engineering, Iowa NSF EPSCoR co-project director and Bioeconomy Institute director, wrote the book for the foundational course, “BRT 501: Fundamentals of Biorenewable Resources,” now in its second edition. As a co-founder of the BRT program in 2002, Brown has seen many changes.

“Our original course offerings in BRT were limited to the foundational course, a seminar course, and a research experiences course with students filling out most of their graduate study with courses from traditional disciplines.” Brown said. “Support from EPSCoR, the state’s Leading the Bioeconomy program, and the energetic leadership of Jackie Baughman have greatly expanded our course offerings, providing students with more opportunities to learn about biorenewables.”

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