National Academies Launch Groundbreaking Initiative to Produce a New Scientific Strategy for Food and Agriculture Research

John Floros, PhD, of Kansas State University and Susan Wessler, PhD, of University of California, Riverside, named co-chairs

WASHINGTON, DC (May 9, 2017)—The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is launching Breakthroughs 2030, an innovative effort to determine the greatest scientific opportunities in the next decade within the fields of food and agriculture.

Breakthroughs 2030 will respond to the numerous reports issued by government and non-governmental organizations on the relationship of the food and agricultural system to public health, food security, national security, trade, economic development, and the environment. Most of these reports emphasize the need to dramatically increase food production worldwide to feed a growing global population. Tapping the ingenuity and knowledge of the American research community, Breakthroughs 2030 will produce a blueprint for how research can solve these major issues.

The initiative will be chaired by:

•  John Floros, PhD – Dean of the College of Agriculture and Director of Research and Extension, Kansas State University
•  Susan Wessler, PhD – Distinguished Professor of Genetics and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor, University of California, Riverside; Home Secretary, National Academy of Sciences

“Given the challenges facing agriculture – from producing more food, to using less land and fewer resources – we need innovation more than ever,” said Thomas Grumbly, President of the Supporters of Agricultural Research (SoAR) Foundation, which helped conceive and fund Breakthroughs 2030. “Dr. Wessler and Dr. Floros have excellent reputations, and their backgrounds are ideal for the crucial task ahead.”

“I look forward to the leadership of Dr. Wessler and Dr. Floros as co-chairs of this important effort to identify prime areas of scientific opportunity and spur collaboration across disciplines and stakeholder groups,” said Sally Rockey, PhD, Executive Director of the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), another major study funder. “I am confident that with these outstanding co-chairs at the helm, Breakthroughs 2030 will result in a compelling scientific vision for the future that incorporates the diverse expertise and innovative approaches being applied to address food and agriculture challenges.”

Working through the National Academies independent study process, Breakthroughs 2030 will involve input from hundreds of researchers and stakeholders to determine a vision that capitalizes on emerging trends, encourages greater interdisciplinary research, and informs the decisions of policymakers and academic leaders. Food and agriculture research stakeholders will be invited to participate in the process through the project’s forthcoming interactive website and a town hall planned for this summer. A major scientific conference in Irvine, California, this coming September 2017, will further engage the greater scientific community in the U.S.

A public launch reception for Breakthroughs 2030 is scheduled for 5:30 PM on Wednesday, June 14th at the National Academies of Science headquarters in Washington, DC. For more information on the Breakthroughs 2030 study and to sign up for updates, go to: http://nas-sites.org/dels/studies/agricultural-science-breakthroughs.

Breakthroughs 2030, a $1.12 million effort, is being launched with diverse financial support from over twenty sources in the university, public health, and agricultural sectors as well as federal agencies. Current funders include:

• Supporters of Agricultural Research Foundation
• Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research
• Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
• Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation
• Agricultural and Applied Economics Association 
• American Farm Bureau Federation
• American Society for Horticultural Science
• American Society for Nutrition
• American Society of Agronomy
• American Society of Plant Biologists 
• American Soybean Association
• American Veterinary Medical Association
• Association of American Universities
• Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges 
• Association of Public and Land-grant Universities
• Crop Science Society of America
• Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
• National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
• National Coalition for Food and Agricultural Research
• National Corn Growers Association
• National Pork Board
• Soil Science Society of America

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