FFAR and Borlaug Dialogue Attendees Celebrate New $100,000 National Academy of Sciences Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences

Award Established by FFAR and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the First National Academy of Sciences Prize Dedicated to Food and Agriculture

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From left: Ronald Phillips, Pam Johnson, Sally Rockey, and Lawrence Kent.

The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) celebrated the establishment of the first-ever NAS prize dedicated to food and agriculture research today in conjunction with the 2016 Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium in Des Moines, Iowa.

It is widely recognized that global food production must double by the year 2050 in order to meet demand, and that this advancement requires scientific innovation. The new NAS Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences is designed to honor breakthrough scientific achievements and inspire continued innovation in food and agriculture sciences. Support from the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), a national nonprofit that supports innovative science, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, endows the Prize in perpetuity.

The following speakers discussed the critical importance and impact of scientists working toward more productive, sustainable agriculture and better health through nutritious food at today’s event:

  • Sally Rockey, Ph.D., Executive Director, Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research
  • Pam Johnson, Secretary, Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research Board of Directors; Second Vice President, Maizall and Past President, National Corn Growers Association
  • Lawrence Kent, Senior Program Officer, Agricultural Development Program, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Ronald Phillips, Ph.D., National Academy of Sciences Member and Regents’ Professor Emeritus and former McKnight Presidential Chair in Genomics, University of Minnesota Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics
  • Kenneth Quinn, Ph.D, President, The World Food Prize Foundation

FFAR hosted today’s celebration of the NAS Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences as part of the 2016 Borlaug Dialogue, an annual symposium bringing together international leaders, policy makers, farmers, executives from agribusiness and non-governmental organizations, and scientific, academic and development experts to address critical food security issues and honor recipients of the World Food Prize. The World Food Prize is awarded annually to recognize individuals who have improved the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world.

With the creation of the new NAS Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences, to be awarded each year to a mid-career recipient at a U.S. institution, FFAR and its partners aim to complement the work of the World Food Prize.

“The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research is proud to partner with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to establish this new prize at the National Academy of Sciences recognizing extraordinary scientists for discoveries that transform how we produce and deliver nutritious food,” said Sally Rockey, executive director of FFAR. “As we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the World Food Prize, it is a timely and distinct honor to mark this milestone for food and agriculture sciences alongside our partners and colleagues at this year’s Borlaug Dialogue.”

The inaugural recipient of the new Prize will be honored in January 2017 for an extraordinary contribution to agriculture or to the understanding of the biology of a species fundamentally important to agriculture or food production.

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