Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research Establishes National Academy of Sciences Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Support

Nominations Now Open for First Annual $100,000 Prize Recipient

WASHINGTON — The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), a national nonprofit organization that supports innovative science addressing food and agriculture challenges, today established the first-ever National Academy of Sciences (NAS) prize dedicated to food and agriculture research. The $100,000 prize for a mid-career scientist is endowed by FFAR and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Beginning in 2017, NAS will recognize one annual prize recipient for an extraordinary contribution to agriculture or to the understanding of the biology of a species fundamentally important to agriculture or food production. The prize may also be shared by one or more individuals for a collaborative accomplishment.

Mid-career researchers at U.S. institutions may be nominated through October 3, 2016. For the purposes of the prize, areas of science with applications to agriculture include plant and animal sciences, microbiology, nutrition and food science, soil science, entomology, veterinary medicine, and agricultural economics.

Establishing the NAS Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences is part of FFAR’s efforts to elevate food and agriculture research in the scientific arena and highlight the critical need for scientists working toward more productive, sustainable agriculture and better health through nutritious food.

“Scientific discovery has the power to transform how we live through the food we eat,” said Sally Rockey, executive director of FFAR. “The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research is proud to partner with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to establish this important prize at the National Academy of Sciences recognizing food and agricultural scientists for research achievements leading to cutting edge technologies and practices that impact how we produce and deliver nutritious food.  I look forward to the first honoree and those that follow as they continue making breakthroughs that feed the world.”

The inaugural prize will be the first award dedicated to food and agriculture research to be conferred by NAS, a prestigious nonprofit organization of elected members including 500 Nobel Prize winners.

“Endless discovery and innovation is essential in the quest to improve the quality of nutrition for all humans while recognizing inherent limitations in land, fresh water, and environmentally safe levels of fertilizer application,” said NAS President Marcia McNutt. “This new prize allows the National Academy of Sciences to recognize and support scientists whose research has the potential to improve our global food system.”

Joint support from FFAR and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation endows the prize in perpetuity.

“Food and agricultural research has been a key foundation of advances in human nutrition and economic growth, and will continue to be essential to future growth, resilience and conservation of resources and the environment,” said Rob Horsch, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation deputy director of agricultural development. “This new prize will acknowledge, reward and encourage major contributions to the field.”

FFAR and its partners aim to complement the visibility brought to the food system by the World Food Prize, which recognizes individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world.

“Dr. Norman E. Borlaug believed it was critical that we recognize and inspire those global breakthrough achievements that will be needed to feed the burgeoning world population in the 21st century,” said Ambassador Kenneth Quinn, president of the World Food Prize. “As such, he would strongly support and warmly welcome, as do I, the creation of the National Academy of Sciences’ food and agriculture prize for U.S. based research scientists.”

Learn more or Submit a Nomination

About the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research

The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization, builds unique partnerships to support innovative and actionable research addressing today’s food and agriculture challenges. Leveraging public and private resources, FFAR will increase the scientific and technological research, innovation, and partnerships critical to enhancing sustainable production of nutritious food for a growing global population. Established by the 2014 Farm Bill, FFAR is governed by a Board of Directors chaired by former Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman and with ex officio representation from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and National Science Foundation. Learn more: www.foundationfar.org | Connect with FFAR: @FoundationFAR | @RockTalking.

 

About the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health with vaccines and other life-saving tools and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to significantly improve education so that all young people have the opportunity to reach their full potential. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Dr. Susan Desmond-Hellmann and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.

 

About the National Academy of Sciences

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit institution that was established under a congressional charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. It recognizes achievement in science by election to membership, and — along with the National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Medicine — provides science, technology, and health policy advice to the nation.

Overcoming Water Scarcity

Overcoming Water Scarcity

Continue

Agriculture uses 70 percent of the world’s accessible freshwater. FFAR’s 2016-2018 Overcoming Water Scarcity Challenge Area addressed water use efficiency in agriculture by developing water conservation and reuse technologies, improving crop and livestock breeds, creating improved agronomic practices, increasing the social and economic tractability of conservation practices and enhancing the efficacy of Extension services.

FFAR’s Sustainable Water Management Challenge Area builds on earlier work to increase water availability and water efficiency for agricultural use, reduces agricultural water pollution and develops water reuse technologies.

Healthy Soils, Thriving Farms

Healthy Soils, Thriving Farms

Continue

FFAR’s 2016-2018 Healthy Soils, Thriving Farms Challenge Area increased soil health by building knowledge, fueling innovation, and enabling adoption of existing or new innovative practices that improve soil health.

The Soil Health Challenge Area advances existing research and identifies linkages between farm productivity and soil health, while also addressing barriers to the adoption of soil health practices.

Protein Challenge

Protein Challenge

Continue

FFAR’s 2016-2018 Protein Challenge Area sought to improve the environmental, economic and social sustainability of diverse proteins.

The Advance Animal Systems challenge area supports sustainable animal production through environmentally sound productions practices and advancement in animal health and welfare. Additionally, the Next Generation Crops Challenge Area develops non-traditional crops, including plant-based proteins, and creates new economic opportunities for conventional crops to increase future crop diversity and farm profitability.

Food Waste and Loss

Food Waste and Loss

Continue

About 40 percent of food in the US, or $161 billion each year, is lost or wasted. FFAR’s 2016-2018 Food and Waste Loss Challenge Area addressed the social, economic and environmental impacts from food waste and loss through research that developed of novel uses for agricultural waste, improved storage and distribution, supported tracking and monitoring, minimized spoilage through pre- and post-harvest innovations and changed behaviors to reduce food waste

FFAR’s current Health-Agriculture Nexus Challenge Area addresses food waste and loss and supports innovative, systems-level approaches to reduce food and nutritional insecurity and improve human health in the US and globally.

Forging the Innovation Pathway to Sustainability

Continue

Supporting innovation is necessary for sustainable results. Over the last 50 years, farmers have tripled global food production thanks to agricultural innovations. Forging the Innovation Pathway to Sustainability was a 2016-2018 Challenge Area that focused on understanding the barriers and processes that prevented the adoption of technology and research results into sustainable practices.

Urban Food Systems

Urban Food Systems

Continue

The 2016-2018 Urban Food Systems Challenge Area addressed feeding urban populations through urban and peri-urban agriculture and augmenting the capabilities of our current food system.

The Urban Food Systems Challenge Area continues this work and enhances our ability to feed urban populations.

Making My Plate Your Plate

Continue

FFAR’s 2016-2018 Making My Plate Your Plate Challenge Area focused on helping Americans meet the USDA 2015 Dietary Guideline recommendations for fruit and vegetable consumption, including research to both produce and provide access to nutritious fruits and vegetables.

FFAR’s current Health-Agriculture Nexus Challenge Area supports innovative, systems-level approaches to reduce food and nutritional insecurity and improve human health in the US and globally.