FFAR Awards $2.4 Million to Eight Early-Career Research Faculty Members for Innovative Research Projects

New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research Awards Support Science in Plant Efficiency, Soil Health, Water Use, Nutrition and Food System Innovation

FFAR New Innovators visited the U.S. Capitol to discuss their research with members of Congress.

 

The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, a nonprofit established through bipartisan congressional support, today announced the second annual New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research award recipients and welcomed past and current awardees to Washington for a training program and visits to Capitol Hill.

Matching funds from each awardee’s respective institution will double the Foundation’s investment for a total of $4.8 million in awards over five years. The eight New Innovators will receive up to $600,000 per recipient.

As part of the award, eleven of the 2016 and 2017 recipients of the New Innovator award chose to participate in a scientific communications training in Washington this week followed by visits with their congressional representatives.

The New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research program provides strong support for promising scientists who demonstrate not only a commitment to catalyzing innovation in food and agriculture research, but also a dedication to mentoring undergraduate and/or graduate students.

Early career faculty members have much to gain from their first significant research grant; they earn credibility and are able to redirect time and resources from applying for grant funding to seeing their research through to successful publications and impact.

Attracting and retaining top talent in food and agriculture research is widely identified as one critical component of meeting the food and nutrition needs of the growing global population, which is now projected to reach 10 billion by 2050.

The Foundation’s New Innovator program invests in new university faculty, their novel and potentially groundbreaking research projects, and the students and post-doctoral scholars who work on those projects.

The following individuals, who are assistant professors at the universities listed below, are the second annual class of New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research award recipients. Awardees will investigate important research questions in five categories:

Nutrition and Healthy Food Choices
Optimizing Agricultural Water Use
Plant Efficiency
Spurring Food System Innovation
Transforming Soil Health

The New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research Award is designed to provide the early investment needed to launch new faculty members into successful scientific careers in food and agriculture.

A public request for nominations for the New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research Award was limited to no more than two applicants per institution, and only to researchers within the first three years of their faculty careers.

The second annual class of New Innovator awards bring the total FFAR investment to nearly $5 million in support of the program’s 17 early career awardees to date.

Learn more about the 2017 New Innovators.

Watch the 2017 New Innovators video:

Overcoming Water Scarcity

Overcoming Water Scarcity

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.