The MTRAC AgBio Innovation Hub has completed its Spring 2022 MTRAC AgBio Innovation Challenge. The Challenge is a competition in which researchers submit short, confidential concept papers describing early-stage AgBio technology ideas. This year’s Innovation Challenge resulted in prizes being awarded to the authors of 7 prize winning papers. The AgBio concepts recognized by these awards encompass a broad range of promising new technologies – ranging from biosynthesis of important terpenoid agrichemicals to greenhouse gas monitoring tools to the protein-based biomining and recycling of rare earth elements. Award decisions were made by the AgBio MTRAC program team based on 8 competitive parameters. As shown in the table below, a total of 7 awards were made, ranging from three $2,500 (Activation) prizes to a single $10,000 (Transformation) prize. History suggests that at least some of the award-winning Innovation Challenge concepts will continue to be tested and refined to the point of becoming good candidates for an MTRAC AgBio Starter Grant. Indeed, the MTRAC program encourages the principal investigators to apply for MTRAC funding once the technologies reach the translational stage.
Please join us in congratulating these awardees. Together, they come from a wide range of departments within the university, including Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, Chemistry, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics (MMG), Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering. The MTRAC AgBio Innovation Hub encourages participants from other Michigan public universities, as well as these and other departments at MSU to consider the MTRAC program as a source of translational funding for the development of commercially focused AgBio technologies.