In May 2020, the FAFF committee completed the first proposal launching the Algae Center of Excellence (ACE).
Algae - including seaweed, single cell microalgae, cyanobacteria, and other related organisms - are a highly productive untapped resource that can provide a broad range of products and services to the US economy and livelihoods.
Accelerating the commercialization of algae products and services in the US will require an interdisciplinary approach. The Algae Center of Excellence (ACE) will facilitate industry, academic, federal and local agencies, and National Lab communities across a diverse set of disciplines to tackle the significant research objectives and commercial deployment challenges that cannot be addressed by any one discipline alone.
THE MISSION OF ACE
The mission of the ACE is to support the development, scale up and commercialization of innovative, sustainable and eco-restorative solutions for the production of food, feed, and bioproducts from algae.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A PART OF ACE?
ACE will operate under the Algae Biomass Organization (ABO), and participants of ACE must be ABO members in order to contribute to and benefit from the cutting edge research and resources that ACE will provide.
If you are interested in becoming an ABO member, click here.
Q: Does an Industry Partner have to participate in government funded projects?
No. There will be individual projects initiated by ACE that Industry Partners can participate in if interested. The Industry Partner may choose to participate in privately funded projects, where data dissemination can be restricted. In these projects, the Industry Partner will still have access to resources and expertise that will be offered as part of ACE. Industry Partners may also choose to participate in both types of projects
The ACE Steering Committee will play an active role in recruiting participants from both academia and industry, as well as other critical stakeholders to help establish and grow ACE. Members of the Steering Committee are active players in the algae industry and have a deep understanding of the critical barriers to global growth. The Steering Committee will ultimately determine the best structure for ACE and serve as board members to ensure the core values and purpose of the center are fulfilled.
Industry Partners will be an important part of ACE, given the center’s focus on accelerating commercialization of algae products. As such, Industry Partners will have access to valuable center resources including the opportunity to interact with technical members to collaborate on specific research projects of interest. Industry Partners will help define overall objectives for ACE work that are pertinent to their needs as a company. Projects can be focused to Industry Partner needs; whether that means novel product development, more efficient production methods, or data collected for safety and efficacy evaluations. This work can be supported by either Center funding or by Industry Partner funding; if company funding is used, data may be kept private or anonymized to be shared. Industry Partners may have an exclusive right to use the data from work that they fund, but for projects funded by the ACE or federal funds, the data generated must eventually be disseminated, generally through academic publications. In addition to what is mentioned above regarding participation in relevant projects, commercial entities will have access to top expertise in algae technology and bioproducts. Industry Partners will be able to connect directly with top academic researchers, state-of-the-art facilities, and have immediate access to new industry relevant data. As an Industry Partner, you will have the ability to help steer ACE work, and while direct funding is not required to participate, Industry Partners may be asked to participate with in-kind resources and will be expected to offer feedback and industry expertise. Company IP and confidentiality will be maintained, but we ask that Industry Partners have a general willingness to collaborate with others to help meet overall ACE goals.
TECHNICAL ADVISORY BOARD (TAB)
The Technical Advisory Board is a panel of scientists specializing in various aspects of algae research and/or product development. As a member of the Technical Advisory Board, these scientists will review potential ACE funded projects as well as contribute to projects of their own. Along with the Steering Committee, the TAB will identify and prioritize the projects that address main objectives within ACE so that they are in alignment with the overall mission of ACE to accelerate algae based commercial products into the market and are framed within ACE’s areas of interest. Members of the TAB will have a duty to ensure that the technical objectives of the center are met through projects, and to provide scientific guidance to ACE projects. As valuable advocates of ACE and the algae industry, the TAB will also be responsible for facilitating collaborations and developing the ACE network, so that ACE participants and projects will have access to the best expertise possible for the industry.
Individual participants can be any stakeholder interested in the commercialization of algae products and technologies and development of the algae industry as a whole. Participants can range from students and postdocs in academia to consultants, educators, and industry professionals. Individual participants must be enthusiastic advocates of ACE, and participate in building a broader interest in algae and algae products in the public and within their own professional network. In addition to this, individual participants can assist with submitting constructive input in ACE proposed areas of focus including review of prospective projects, and network with ACE technical and industrial partners.
Supporting organizations of ACE are entities that may not play an active role in ACE activities, but do offer input and prospective to ensure that ACE is effective in achieving its mission. Examples include non-governmental organizations, federal and state agencies, and companies that have a direct interest in seeing the algae industry thrive. The ACE steering committee will actively communicate with these supporting organizations as a means to identify new opportunities for ACE and to stay informed of relevant information that will impact ACE strategic vision.
Determine the appropriate structure for the Algae Center of Excellence. Investigate other COE models to determine the appropriate structure for ACE that will facilitate the most fruitful collaborations and fully encompass the broad range of activities envisioned. Draft a business plan further laying out the operational structure and framework behind ACE.
Identify and establish avenues for funding of ACE and begin conversations with investors and industry partners that can assist in securing funding for ACE
Continue to build enthusiasm from industry and build out network of parties interested in participating in ACE
Refine ACE structure based upon input from key stakeholders, and finalize business plan
Invite future and prospective ACE participants to a group meeting to finalize strategic direction and agree to ACE model
Draft and finalize agreements with critical stakeholders to officially establish ACE as an organization
Based on amount of funding, hire and begin onboarding of ACE staff
Draft and begin initial projects and establish resources for ACE participants
Develop marketing strategy and advocate for ACE and algae industry. Continue to grow ACE and build connections with end users of algae commercial products