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Partner Profile: Schmidt Futures

Washington, D.C.

Schmidt Futures is a philanthropic initiative of Eric and Wendy Schmidt. Our BioFutures Program is dedicated to the development of a thriving circular bioeconomy that will efficiently transform biological resources into food, feed, and energy in a sustainable process.

We aim to accelerate the translation of bioeconomy research into public and economic benefits, following three primary pathways. First is a focus on research to support repurposing sustainable waste biomass (e.g., agricultural residues or forest debris) into useful products via bioproduction (e.g., biochemicals and biofuels). Second is overcoming engineering constraints to enable large-scale bioproduction, which is vital for a new, greener era of industrial innovation. Third is mobilizing technical talent to address regulatory processes and reduce barriers to bringing novel products of biotechnology to market. These steps support implementation of the national strategy Schmidt Futures released in 2022 for a resilient, competitive, and circular U.S. bioeconomy.

Research is a key component of this work, and partnerships are essential to success. We recently partnered with the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) to sharpen our thinking on one BioFutures pathway: repurposing sustainable waste biomass. Replacing petroleum feedstocks (raw materials for manufacturing) with underutilized biomass resources will be a key element of a successful circular bioeconomy. Together, we implemented Feedstocks of the Future for a Circular U.S. Bioeconomy, a convening of experts with diverse perspectives relevant to understanding research needs for utilizing circular and alternative biomass feedstocks. Over the course of two days, participants engaged in vigorous and enlightening discussions that will inform our future research plans.

The workshop excelled at establishing a collaborative environment for identifying new research needs. We chose to partner with FFAR for this activity because of our shared interest in advancing the U.S. bioeconomy and engaging agricultural producers and agricultural resources in doing so. We also value FFAR’s extensive network and experience in the agricultural research space. We look forward to continued opportunities to collaborate with FFAR and other organizations interested in advancing a vibrant and circular U.S. bioeconomy through research.

Genevieve Croft, Ph.D., Program Scientist, BioFutures Program

Dr. Genevieve Croft is a Program Scientist at Schmidt Futures, working with the BioFutures Program to develop research opportunities to advance a vibrant and circular U.S. bioeconomy. Prior to Schmidt Futures, Genevieve spent a decade in federal service, including technical and policy roles at the Congressional Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Agency for International Development, and U.S. Peace Corps. Genevieve holds a Ph.D. in Evolutionary Biology from Washington University in St. Louis, and a BS in Biology from Georgetown University.