Gov. Rick Perry announced today that The Texas A&M University System has received a $5 million grant from the state's Emerging Technology Fund for the Texas A&M Agriculture and Engineering Bioenergy Alliance. "The Texas A&M System has a reputation for excellence in research. We strive to maintain and improve upon that reputation by hiring outstanding faculty and providing them with the tools they need to rise to the top of their field," said Michael D. McKinney, chancellor of the Texas A&M System. "This funding from our state's leadership will be used for groundbreaking research to create alternative fuels to solve our world's energy challenges."

The Texas A&M Agriculture and Engineering BioEnergy Alliance, a partnership between the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station and the Texas Engineering Experiment Station, will use its grant funds to hire new commercially focused faculty to accelerate the path to market for their innovative research on the next generation of biofuels.

"In order to meet our long-term energy needs, the development of biofuels from agricultural feedstocks requires research into many alternatives by talented scientists working on Texas-based issues," said Dr. Elsa Murano, vice chancellor and dean of agriculture and life sciences for the A&M System. "Here at Texas A&M and within the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, we are conducting significant research on several dedicated feedstocks for biofuels and renewable energy such as sorghum, sugarcane, forage and oil-based cropping systems that are sustainable within existing agricultural production systems.

"We are very appreciative of the governor for providing this funding through the Emerging Technology Fund. This grant will enable us to bring in additional, world-class scientists who can help us significantly accelerate this research and development of biofuels. We are going to do our part, working with our partners in Texas A&M Engineering, to move biofuels from the fields to our fuel tanks more quickly and efficiently, which will provide tremendous benefit to the state of Texas," she said.

In addition to the ETF grant, the agriculture and engineering experiment stations and Texas A&M will provide funds to recruit and retain superior, commercially focused faculty in key disciplines to join and enhance the Bioenergy-Bioproducts Development Team.

About the A&M System:

The A&M System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation, with a budget of $2.6 billion. Through a statewide network of nine universities, seven state agencies and a comprehensive health science center, the system educates more than 103,000 students and makes more than 15 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. Externally funded research brings in almost $620 million every year and helps drive the state's economy.

About the Texas A&M Agriculture and Engineering Bioenergy Alliance:

The Texas A&M System is uniquely configured to optimize the integrated development and design of cellulosic and oil-based feedstocks with emerging technologies and sustainable supplies of biomass to address biofuels and renewable energy. Over the past two decades, faculty and staff researchers have worked on multiple feedstocks, biofuels and bioenergy projects. The Texas A&M Bioenergy Alliance is advancing this research toward demonstration projects and eventual commercialization, while accelerating the next generation bioenergy.

About the Emerging Technology Fund:

The ETF is a $200 million initiative created by the Texas Legislature in 2006 to help businesses get innovations to the marketplace. Recipients of ETF funding are selected by a 17-member advisory committee of high-tech leaders, entrepreneurs and research experts who review potential projects and recommend projects for funding to the governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the house.