Science Breakthroughs

Science Breakthroughs Click to view report

SoAR catalyzed the development of a major new agricultural research agenda for the U.S. from the National Academies, entitled “Science Breakthroughs to Advance Food and Agricultural Research by 2030.” Released in July 2018, Science Breakthroughs 2030 identifies innovative, emerging scientific advances for making the U.S. food and agricultural system more efficient, resilient, and sustainable. The report explores the availability of new scientific developments across all research disciplines that could accelerate progress in food and agriculture, presenting five breakthroughs for prioritization:

  1. Increasing understanding of the animal, soil, and plant microbiomes and their broader applications across the food system.
  2. Harnessing the potential of genomics and precision breeding to improve plant and animal traits.
  3. Capitalizing on agri-food informatics to enable advanced analytics using data sciences, information technology, and artificial intelligence.
  4. Employing existing sensors and developing new sensing technologies to enable rapid detection and monitoring.
  5. Prioritizing transdisciplinary science and systems approaches.

The idea for Science Breakthroughs 2030 grew out of a need to present a compelling case to policymakers for additional public investment in agricultural research. Working with its Science Advisory Committee, SoAR produced a process for the report’s development; gathered input from stakeholders; selected the National Academies (NASEM) to lead the study after overseeing an RFP process; raised over $1 million from organizations and federal agencies; and spearheaded outreach for the report’s launch with a congressional reception.

The final report was made possible with funding from the SoAR Foundation, the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, National Science Foundation, US Department of Energy, and 23 other foundations, scientific societies, commodity groups, and university associations.