Unveiling the Next Century at CALS Learning Lab

Monday, April 12, 2021
Burgess envisions the Campus Agricultural Center as the birthplace of Arizona’s circular bioeconomy. Simply defined, a circular bioeconomy is the creation of value-added secondary raw materials from waste biomass.

For more than a century, the Campus Agricultural Center’s (CAC) has served a vital role for the university as a hub of instruction, research, and extension. University of Arizona Vice President of Agriculture, Life and Veterinary Sciences, and Cooperative Extension Shane Burgess knows generations of students and faculty consider the 185-acre research facility as a second home, just as important to their UA experience as any classroom or laboratory on the main campus three miles to the south.

Now Burgess and the UA are planning for the CAC’s next century, envisioning and building the infrastructures critical for the university to be a national leader in a multi-college, multi-disciplinary circular bioeconomy initiative.

“The CAC became part of Arizona’s statewide Experiment Station system in 1909,” Burgess said. “Since then, it has provided state-of-the-art infrastructure support enabling UA innovations in agriculture, horticulture, viticulture, human wellness, biomedicine, and engineering, to name a few. Research done at CAC helped Arizona’s growers create today’s $40 billion agricultural economy. Our circular bioeconomy initiative vision fulfills our mandate as a Land Grant University of making imagined inventions real, and then taking risks too great for the private sector to bear, to demonstrate economic feasibility.”

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