Major Indo-U.S. Advanced Bioenergy Consortium launches

The government of India’s Department of Biotechnology, Indian corporate leaders and Washington University in St. Louis have invested $2.5 million to launch the Indo-U.S. Advanced Bioenergy Consortium for Second Generation Biofuels (IUABC).

The IUABC is a joint binational center led by Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay (IITB), and Washington University.

The Indian transportation fuel infrastructure is undergoing massive transformation due to increased consumer demand and a growing population, which is estimated to reach 1.6 billion by 2050.

“Biofuels are an essential solution to this demand challenge, not only to bridge the supply between traditional fossil fuels and consumer demand, but to deliver better environmental performance,” said Himadri Pakrasi, PhD, director of I-CARES, Washington University’s center for research on energy, the environment and sustainability, and the university’s McDonnell International Scholars Academy ambassador to JNU.

“Over the next three years, the IUABC will invest significantly in the knowledge base in India and the U.S. to meet this challenge,” Pakrasi said.

The goal of the center is to increase biomass yield in plants and algae, enabling downstream commercial development for cost-effective, efficient and environmentally sustainable production of advanced biofuels.

The IUABC strengthens institutional partnerships between the three lead organizations, all of which are members of the McDonnell International Scholars Academy through which they collaborate on research, develop joint educational opportunities, and host joint workshops and symposia.

The IUABC consortium includes 14 principal investigators from seven Indian research organizations and one U.S. research university, and substantial investments from two Indian industrial partners.

IUABC partners include:

  • Washington University in St. Louis
  • Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India
  • Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Mumbai, India
  • International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), New Delhi, India
  • Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, India
  • University of Delhi, South Campus (UDSC), New Delhi, India
  • National Facility for Marine Cyanobacteria (NFMC), Tiruchirappalli, India
  • National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bangalore, India
  • Bioseed Research India, Hyderabad, India
  • Reliance Industries Limited, Mumbai, India

A number of the IUABC partners came together during the McDonnell International Scholars Academy symposium, “The Role of Research Universities in Addressing Global Challenges,” Oct. 16-18 at Washington University. During the symposium, university leadership from around the world focused on how research universities can join forces to tackle the critical problems of the 21st century.

For more information about the symposium visit

About the McDonnell International Scholars Academy

The McDonnell Academy is an international scholarship program designed to attract the world’s best students to obtain graduate education at Washington University.

Working with 28 international research university partners, the academy selects students who are important to the research effort at Washington University and who can enhance the educational experiences of domestic students through sharing their culture, history, and politics of their countries.

Since 2007, 51 McDonnell Academy scholars recruited from the partner institutions have graduated and are now networked future leaders who can promote global awareness and social responsibility. The unique platform provided by this set of partner institutions is also being harnessed to launch collaborated research on issues such as energy and environment, aging, and public health.

A significant example of this is the McDonnell Academy Global Energy and Environmental Partnership (MAGEEP).