BIO Presents DuPont Chairman Charles O. Holliday, Jr. the 2009 George Washington Carver Award for Innovation in Industrial Biotechnology

  • Contact: Contact Paul Winters
    202-962-9237
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (Tuesday, July 21, 2009) - The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) today presented the annual George Washington Carver Award for Innovation in Industrial Biotechnology to DuPont Chairman of the Board Charles O. Holliday, Jr., recognizing his commitment to industrial biotechnology as a tool for sustainable business growth. The award was given at a plenary lunch of the sixth annual 2009 World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioprocessing, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Brent Erickson, executive vice president of BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section, said, “The George Washington Carver Award was created to honor individuals in the private sector, government or academia who have made a significant contribution to economic growth through biotech innovation and the development of environmentally sustainable processes. BIO is pleased to recognize the contributions to the field of industrial biotechnology and outstanding accomplishments of DuPont Chairman Chad Holliday.

“During Holliday’s tenure as CEO, DuPont invested in biology-based businesses and infused them with its chemistry know-how. For instance, DuPont partnered with sugar processor Tate & Lyle to manufacture 1,3 propanediol, a polyester ingredient made by fermenting sugar. That venture led the company to think about applying its fermentation expertise to making renewable fuels and chemicals in a biorefinery. Under the aegis of the Department of Energy, the firm has worked with several research partners to further the concept and make it commercially viable.”

Holliday said, “I am honored to receive the George Washington Carver Award and to be invited to BIO’s World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology. Market-driven science discovery and new product innovation are at the very core of DuPont’s business, and industrial biotechnology is a key component of that. Innovation is essential to business growth that provides safer and more secure lives for people everywhere while addressing global energy and environmental challenges. On behalf of all DuPont employees around the world, I am deeply honored to receive an award that recognizes and promotes work toward this goal, especially as it is given by a group of peers who share this vision.”

Accompanying the award is a George Washington Carver scholarship given in the name of Charles O. Holliday, Jr., to Iowa State University graduate student Mark Wright, currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering and Biorenewable Resources and Technology. The award is sponsored by DSM, the Iowa Biotechnology Association and the Iowa Department of Economic Development.

Erickson continued, “George Washington Carver is considered one of the founding fathers of modern industrial biotechnology. Following his legacy, industrial biotechnology companies today are developing new methods to use renewable agricultural resources to manufacture fuels, plastics, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and food ingredients. The field has developed in ways that Carver may never have imagined, but the work of industrial biotech companies remains true to the goal of a sustainable agricultural economy that includes production of useful everyday products.”

George Washington Carver achieved world renown by using agriculture and science to produce everyday products, changing the nature of farm economics and sustainability. From an early age, Carver pursued an interest in plants, eventually earning a graduate degree in botany from Iowa State University. Carver devoted his career to teaching sustainable farming, which for him included developing new uses of agricultural products that could boost farm profits.

Carver devoted his career to teaching sustainable farming, which for him included developing new uses of agricultural products that could boost farm profits. To help farmers adopt sustainable practices, Carver and his students developed more than 300 industrial uses for peanuts, sweet potatoes, and other crops that could be grown in rotation with cotton and corn. Carver’s inventions included plastics, glue, soaps, paints, dyes for cloth and leather, medicines and cosmetic ingredients made from peanuts, sweet potatoes, or other crops and agricultural residues.

His work inspired leaders of the chemurgy movement, whose proponents looked for ways to replace petrochemicals with farm-derived products. Leaders of the chemurgy movement such as Charles Kettering and William Jay Hale proposed that anything made from a hydrocarbon could be made from a carbohydrate. Today, companies are using industrial biotechnology to manufacture plastics, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and even food ingredients from renewable agricultural resources.

For photos of the award or presentation, please contact Paul Winters at 202-359-6571 or pwinters@bio.org.

The annual World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioprocessing is the original and only conference dedicated solely to industrial biotechnology and the most recent advancements in the field. Now in its sixth year, the conference will move to its largest venue to date, the Palais des congrès de Montréal (the Montreal Convention Centre). The conference web site is www.bio.org/worldcongress.

Upcoming BIO Events

BIO Investor Forum
October 28-29, 2009
San Francisco, CA

Advanced Business Development Course
October 30, 2009
Vienna, Austria

BIO Europe International Partnering Conference
November 2-4, 2009
Vienna, Austria

Pacific Rim Summit on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy
November 8-11, 2009
Honolulu, HI 

About BIO

BIO represents more than 1,200 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. BIO also produces the BIO International Convention, the world’s largest gathering of the biotechnology industry, along with industry-leading investor and partnering meetings held around the world.

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About BIO
BIO is the world's largest trade association representing biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. BIO also produces the BIO International Convention, the world’s largest gathering of the biotechnology industry, along with industry-leading investor and partnering meetings held around the world. BIOtechNOW is BIO's blog chronicling “innovations transforming our world” and the BIO Newsletter is the organization’s bi-weekly email newsletter. Subscribe to the BIO Newsletter.