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RBI opens 2017 conference March 7

ATLANTA — (March 1, 2017) Dozens of industry leaders, as well as Georgia Tech faculty and students will convene at the Global Learning Center on Georgia Tech’s campus Tuesday for the Renewable Bioproducts Institute annual executive conference Growing Resources Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow: People, Technologies and Ideas.

The opening address will be delivered by John Williams, CEO of Domtar, a company on the forefront of the effort to convert sustainable wood fiber into useful products on which people rely every day. His keynote address, "The Building Blocks of Our Industry's Future," will outline Domtar's evolving strategy of looking differently at trees — to recognize them as nature’s biorefineries. Williams will also discuss approaches to promoting improved understanding of the industry throughout the general public.

This year’s conference will focus on the current state of science in raw biomaterials as society addresses critical social, economic and environmental concerns and development priorities. Introducing the People, Technologies and Ideas which make up RBI, an array of research faculty, RBI Fellows and Georgia Tech leadership will discuss the advancements being developed to address the needs of a growing population and reduce the reliance on non-renewable resources.

“Advancing our understanding of the drivers of global grand challenges and potential remedies for them requires contributions from the full range of fields represented at RBI,” said Norman Marsolan, RBI’s executive director. “It also requires partnerships with the people and organizations that support our research and work with us to translate these advances into real-world applications. This conference offers two days of discourse and dialogue regarding the challenges and opportunities in the rapidly-evolving world of bioproducts.”

This year, RBI’s fourth-year students will present the results of their endowment-sponsored research.  Our faculty will share their innovative ideas and most recent endeavors in a variety of areas.  We will also introduce new faculty who have recently joined Georgia Tech to offer intriguing possibilities for forest bioproducts. In addition, plenary sessions will cover an overview of the RBI Endowment portfolio, the implications and opportunities inherent for companies in the recently awarded “Rapid Acceleration of Process Intensification Deployment” (RAPID) and closing the conference, a discussion regarding the future of manufacturing, led by panel of five Georgia Tech Interdisciplinary Research Institute directors.

Nearly 40 of RBI’s Fellows, Ph.D. students sponsored by RBI’s endowment, will participate in this year’s poster competition. Attendees will have an opportunity to meet these students during lunch and an evening reception to discuss with them how their research could be valuable or made more relevant to their companies.

The conference is also a prime opportunity to learn more about Georgia Tech’s innovation ecosystem, which encourages cross-disciplinary research partnerships in order to advance progress and solutions on issues of significance. Our industry partners will hear in detail about commercialization centers and how they can provide insights, techniques and tools to support business and industry strategies with RBI serving as a portal into pertinent research, capabilities, services, and scholarship being conducted on campus.

Full details about the conference can be found on RBI's conference website.