BIO Accepting Applications for the 2009 George Washington Carver Award for Innovation in Industrial Biotechnology

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Monday, March 30, 2009) - The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) today announced that it is accepting nominations for the annual George Washington Carver Award to recognize significant contributions by an individual in the field of industrial biotechnology, including applications in biological engineering, environmental science, biorefining and biobased products. The award will be presented at the 2009 World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioprocessing, to be held July 19-22, 2009 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Brent Erickson, executive vice president of BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section, said, “We are honoring George Washington Carver because he was one of the founding fathers of modern industrial biotechnology. Today, his legacy lives on in industrial biotechnology companies that are developing new methods to use renewable agricultural resources to manufacture fuels, plastics, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and food ingredients, just as Carver did during the first half of the 20th century. Science has developed in ways that Carver may never have imagined, but the work remains true to his goal – a sustainable agricultural economy that includes production of useful everyday products.”

BIO is now accepting nominations for the George Washington Carver Award online at Nominees must be living individuals who have demonstrated significant and innovative accomplishments employing industrial biotechnology to advance a biobased economy and industrial sustainability. Written nominations should highlight the contributions the nominee has made in using biotechnology for sustainable production of biobased products, materials and energy. In addition, nominations should include examples of the pioneering and entrepreneurial spirit of the nominee. The deadline for nominations is May 10, 2009.

Accompanying the award will be a George Washington Carver scholarship given in the name of the recipient. The award is sponsored by DSM, the Iowa Biotechnology Association and the Iowa Department of Economic Development.

The award honors the original vision of George Washington Carver who, over a century ago, achieved world renown by using agriculture and science to produce everyday products, changing the nature of farm economics and sustainability. 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.

Today, companies are using industrial biotechnology to manufacture plastics, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and even food ingredients from renewable agricultural resources. The George Washington Carver Award will honor individuals in the private sector, government or academia who have worked toward the important goal of using biotechnology innovation to develop sustainable bio-based value-chains.

BIO presented the first annual George Washington Carver Award to Dr. Patrick Gruber, CEO, Gevo, Inc., recognizing his accomplishments in creating and commercializing a new plastic made from annually renewable resources.

As vice president and chief technology officer of Cargill Dow LLC/NatureWorks from 1997 to 2005, Gruber spearheaded the market introduction of NatureWorks™ PLA and Ingeo™ fibers. He oversaw the construction and launch in 2000 of the first large-scale manufacturing facility for a material developed from 100 percent annually renewable resources. He led the company’s efforts of continual process and technology improvement, making NatureWorks™ PLA a major influence in the global plastic and fibers markets.

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

All programs at the World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioprocessing are open to attendance by members of the media. Registration for the World Congress is complimentary for credentialed members of the news media. Reporters and editors working full-time for print, broadcast, and online news organizations may register onsite with valid media credentials. All freelancers, college and online publications are strongly encouraged to register in advance. For more information, please visit

Upcoming BIO Events

BIO Windhover 2009
April 13-15, 2009
New York, NY

BIO-LES Business Development Basics Course
May 15–17, 2009
Atlanta, GA  

BIO-LES Advanced Business Development Course
May 15–17, 2009
Atlanta, GA 

BIO Executive Presentation Workshop
May 17, 2009
Atlanta, GA

BIO Human Resources Conference
May 17-19, 2009
Atlanta, GA

2009 BIO International Convention
May 18-21, 2009
Atlanta, Ga.

BioEquity Europe
June 9-10, 2009
Munich, Germany

World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology & Bioprocessing
July 19-22, 2009
Montreal, Quebec, Canada


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.