The Algae Foundation will be creating a college degree in algal cultivation technologies and an aquaculture extension training program. The nonprofit received a multi-year grant from the Department of Energy and with the funds has formed the Algae Technology Educational Consortium (ATEC). The Consortium, a partnership between academic institutions, national research laboratories, and industry leaders, will develop educational programs to strengthen the industry workforce working on developing algal products.
“We believe this will be the first ever associates degree in algal biology, cultivation and technology,” said Ira Levine, a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Southern Maine and the P.I. of the grant. “This will help develop the next generation of algae researchers, scientists and engineers whose skills are in great demand from the hundreds of companies developing and deploying algae technology in the U.S. and around the world.”
The grant will fund a three-year program, during which the Algae Foundation will establish the ATEC team, design a curriculum for a college degree, develop and publish textbooks, and partner with community or technical colleges to implement the degree. The team will deploy an educational assessment team to evaluate the college courses created for the degree.
“National Renewable Energy Lab is committed to supporting and advancing algal technologies and we are very excited to participate in this project as strong growth in this industry is anticipated, added Cindy Gerk, NREL Project Leader. “We look forward to the success of this project and enabling high value jobs for the workforce of tomorrow.”