Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research Announces Inaugural Initiatives

First Research Projects Will Build Human Capacity in Food and Agriculture and Deploy Emergency Funding to Support Research Targeting Potential Threats to Food Safety and Supply

WASHINGTON, October 28, 2015 – The Foundation for Food and Agriculture (FFAR) today announced its two inaugural programs: a research award for innovative early career scientists to pursue research in food and agriculture and an initiative to fund first responders in the face of potential threats to the food and agriculture system.

With the New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research Award, FFAR will support up to 10 early-career scientists with up to $200,000 per year. The award is designed to give recipients three years of financial support to pursue highly innovative research in one or more of FFAR’s seven focus areas and to act as mentors to the next generation of standout scientists in food and agriculture.

“The New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research Award is one step toward building human capacity and inspiring the next generation of food and agriculture research scientists, which is a particular priority of the Foundation and is one way we will work toward meeting the demand for more innovative and actionable research in food and agriculture” said Dr. Sally Rockey, executive director of the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research.

The Foundation’s plans to establish a Rapid Response Program will capitalize on FFAR’s close partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and ensure that FFAR’s crisis response efforts are complementary to those of the USDA. A governance structure that enables this collaboration, along with the agility of the FFAR organization to quickly mobilize essential partners, will ensure that emerging issues are rapidly identified and research funds readily deployed.

“USDA’s bold investments over the past several decades have led to new and innovative products, protocols and safeguards that have helped American agriculture grow. We must continue to make strategic investments in research and technology if we are to remain leaders in the global economy,” said Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. “I applaud the Foundation for moving forward with these first two initiatives and look forward to seeing future innovations as a result of the partnerships the Foundation is creating.”

The initiatives were announced as part of the Foundation’s board meeting and also come just six weeks after Rockey joined the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research as its first executive director.

“Today marks an important step forward in establishing the Farm Bill’s new Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research,” said Senate Agriculture Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. “These are exactly the type of projects envisioned when the Foundation was created in the Farm Bill.”

“As one of the original sponsors of the concept and legislation establishing the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), I am pleased and encouraged by the advancements FFAR has made since enactment of the 2014 Farm Bill,” said Senator Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Chairman of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee. “I look forward to working with the Foundation in an effort to support and advance agricultural research in innovative ways.”

The 19-member FFAR board of directors is chaired by former Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman.

“On behalf of the board of directors, the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research is honored to have been charged by Congress with being part of the scientific innovation and creative collaboration that it will take to feed the 9.7 billion people projected to populate the world by 2050,” said Glickman.

“The initiatives announced today lay the foundation for a diverse and high impact portfolio of research initiatives that the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research and its partners will work to champion in the coming months and years.”

Rockey announced FFAR’s first Programs during a public session of today’s meeting of the board of directors. The session also included public comments from stakeholders in food and agriculture research. Comments will be available at here.

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