By Ramona du Houx

December 1, 2011
The nonprofit Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences announced a new Corporate Affiliate Program (CAP) to foster ties between its research activities and private industry.
“The Corporate Affiliate Program is designed to encourage companies to enter into a formal working relationship with us, providing a single interface and road map to the laboratory’s resources,” said Bigelow President and Executive Director Dr. Graham Shimmield.

Bigelow signed on its first partner, BioProcess Algae, LLC of Portsmouth, R.I. The Rhode Island firm designs, builds and operates commercial-scale bioreactors that cultivate algae for use in food for humans and animals as well as biofuels.

“We are extremely pleased that a national leader in producing algal biomass for human nutrition, animal feeds, and biofuels is supporting Bigelow Laboratory’s research in this way, and we’re looking forward to a very fruitful partnership, ” said Shimmield.

Tim Burns, CEO of BioProcess Algae, said his company is developing a range of products from algae.

“Our current focus is on providing cost-competitive products to the feed and fuel industries,” said Burns. “We’ve been working in partnership with Bigelow Laboratory for some time.”

BioProcess Algae LLC is a joint venture with the international renewable energy group NTR plc, which builds and runs green energy and resource-sustaining businesses.

With CAP, depending on their level of financial support, members will be given advance access to data from Bigelow’s research projects, advance copies of papers on scientific discoveries and access to the expertise and resources of the laboratory. In exchange for those benefits, Bigelow will use the fees paid by its members to support more research all over the world. Bigelow employs approximately 65 people, most of them researchers.

The 37-year-old Bigelow Laboratory is in the midst of a major expansion and construction of new headquarters. Scientists at the laboratory had had innovations which have fostered private sector business success in the past and have received Maine Technology Institute grants. Bigelow developed a process for counting single cells which it shared with a Maine firm called Fluid Imaging Technologies.

Bigelow is an independent, non-profit center for global ocean research, ocean science education, and technology transfer. The Laboratory’s research ranges from microbial oceanography to the large-scale biogeochemical processes that drive ocean ecosystems and global environmental conditions.