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Robert Brown and Lisa Schulte Moore Named Co-Directors of Bioeconomy Institute

Posted Apr 14, 2022

The Iowa State University Office of the Vice President for Research announced Robert Brown and Lisa Schulte Moore will serve as co-directors of the nationally renowned Bioeconomy Institute (BEI).

Brown, Anson Marston Distinguished Professor in Engineering and Gary and Donna Hoover Chair in Mechanical Engineering now serves as BEI Director of Engineering Technologies. Schulte Moore, Professor of Natural Resource Ecology, Director of the Consortium for Cultivating Human and Naturally reGenerative Enterprises (C-CHANGE) and 2021 MacArthur Fellow, is serving in the role of BEI Director of Regenerative Agriculture.

“Dr. Brown and Dr. Schulte Moore are esteemed for their creative research and scholarly pursuits not only at Iowa State but across the nation as well,” said Peter Dorhout, ISU Vice President for Research. “As co-directors of the Bioeconomy Institute, they will channel their respective areas of expertise and work collaboratively with each other, with teams across the university and with outside institutions and industry to innovate new solutions that sustainably expand our nation’s bio-based economy.”

Brown and Schulte Moore will collaboratively establish the overarching strategic direction of the BEI to capitalize on the university’s strengths in engineering technologies and regenerative agriculture to fulfill its mission of “Leading the nation and world in establishing the bioeconomy, where society obtains low-carbon renewable fuel, energy, chemicals and materials from regenerative agricultural sources.” The strategic plan will be reviewed regularly for relevance to emerging opportunities and challenges in a carbon-constrained word.

In addition to setting the BEI’s strategic direction the co-directors will have oversight and responsibilities for building their respective programmatic areas, securing research funds and administering research grants, while also collaborating on projects where their program areas overlap.


“The mission of the Bioeconomy Institute has always encompassed the full value-chain of biomass production, processing and utilization, but before this, research programs were heavily weighted toward investigating engineering problems in biorenewables,” said Brown.

“Reorganizing the institute as a co-directorship with distinct leadership roles in engineering and regenerative agriculture allows us to better address issues of sustainability in the bioeconomy. Lisa had already done a wonderful job of building the agricultural side of our programs in her previous role as associate director, but this reorganization gives equal weighting to both sides of the institute’s value proposition.”

Schulte Moore

Schulte Moore added, “The Bioeconomy Institute is nationally recognized for its role in leading the bioeconomy. Associating with the institute has been a game changer for me, furthering the growth and reach of my research and engagement programs. I’m excited to step up my leadership and serve the Iowa State community in this new role.”

The BEI reorganization to co-directorships takes place immediately. Each co-director will be supported by a deputy director. Long-time BEI deputy director, Ryan Smith, will serve that role for Engineering Technologies, while leadership will begin the process of identifying a deputy director for Regenerative Agriculture.

Learn more about how the Bioeconomy Institute is leading the Bioeconomy here.