We build unique partnerships to support innovative science addressing today’s food and agriculture challenges.
Why We’re Here
With 9.7 billion people projected to populate the world by 2050, our food system must evolve. Sustainably nourishing the growing global community demands transformative discoveries from the best and brightest scientists. The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research brings together leading experts to identify and investigate the researchable questions whose answers have the potential to enhance the economic and environmental resilience of our food supply.
We know that innovative science cannot happen without collaborative thinking from a strong, diverse, and creative workforce. That’s why we’re working to elevate the visibility of food and agriculture research in the scientific arena. By supporting and spotlighting leaders breaking new ground in food and agriculture, we strive to inspire the next generation of scientists to pursue careers that help put food on every table.
We’re also here to make progress. That means asking the right questions, convening the best and brightest minds to answer those questions, and seeing research through to successful implementation.
How We Work
We welcome you to the table.
Our commitment to inclusivity starts at the issue identification stage. As we finalized our initial research priorities, we sat down with more than 100 groups with a stake in this space to listen to different perspectives on the most pressing issues. We continue to welcome insight from all facets of our vibrant food system: from scientists conducting food and agricultural research, to farmers in the field, to members of the public deciding what to feed their families each day.
We ask the right questions.
We seek researchable issues with the potential to yield pivotal pieces of knowledge that propel the food and agriculture field forward. For each project, we survey the food and agriculture field to ensure we are focusing on research questions that are not being answered elsewhere. We then look at the landscape and decide, project-by-project, how to convene the right partners to address a given issue.
We leverage top talent and diverse perspectives.
To catalyze innovation, we believe we need not only brilliant minds, but also diverse perspectives tackling today’s challenges in food and agriculture. It will take outside-the-box, interdisciplinary thinking to truly transform our food system. When soliciting research proposals or building a team, we strive to include experts with diverse backgrounds and in different fields, and perspectives from different sides and stages of an issue.
We drive results.
Once we embark on a research project, tangible results become our guiding light. To drive socially feasible and economically viable solutions, we seek stakeholder input starting at the research design phase.
Who We Are
The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research builds unique partnerships to support innovative and actionable science addressing today’s food and agriculture challenges. The Foundation was established by the Farm Bill passed in 2014 and charged with complementing and furthering the important work of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 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.
To maximize the Foundation’s impact potential, FFAR is committed to complementing and not duplicating existing research endeavors.
FFAR is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization governed by a Board of Directors, chaired by President of Mississippi State University Mark Keenum.
What We Do
- Fund cutting-edge research and development through grants and innovation challenges
- Build unique public-private partnerships
- Convene stakeholders and thought leaders to foster collaboration
- Build human capacity and inspire the next generation of food and agriculture scientists
- Utilize social, physical, and biological sciences to answer research questions
Sally Rockey, Ph.D.
Executive Director, FFAR
The pace of technology is absolutely breathtaking because we have this combination of understanding how things work coupled with new technologies. For agriculture, we want to take advantage of not only the increases to our knowledge base but also this technological pace.”
Mark Keenum, Ph.D.
President, Mississippi State University
“I am very proud to have been part of the startup of this organization from day one and I commend the full board for giving their time and energy to something that is bigger than all of us. I look forward to working with my esteemed colleagues to continue building on the extraordinary progress we have made to create the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research.”
The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research welcomes potential research concepts from all sources. Depending on the state of science in your area of interest, your research concept may be primed for pursuit through a competitive grant program, a prize or challenge, or further exploration through a convening of experts. Upon review of the concept for alignment with FFAR’s program development criteria, FFAR may respond in one of the following ways:
» Develop the concept into a competitive research program or prize.
» Incorporate the concept into a program that is under development.
» Should the FFAR staff determine that the research concept does not align with current priorities and available funding, the concept will remain in our database for future consideration. As potential opportunities arise, we may connect you with groups pursuing similar goals. If you would prefer that your interest in a particular area remain confidential, you may opt out below.
Share Here: Concept Portal
Note: This is not a grant application, but rather a way for FFAR to receive concepts to be considered for development into research program areas. Receipt of a research concept does not bind FFAR to launching programs in that area nor entitle the submitter to receive funds from FFAR should a program be launched in that area. For further details regarding the process by which FFAR receives, evaluates, and develops concepts, please visit this page. Should the FFAR staff be interested in discussing a research concept, we typically respond within 30 days.
What happens next?
The FFAR Board of Directors includes 19 voting members, and five ex-officio members designated by Congress. FFAR’s non-voting ex officio members are the stewards of the Foundation’s close partnerships with the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Specifically, these members provide insight into the federal research enterprise and ensure that FFAR’s work complements USDA and NSF research.
Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum chairs the FFAR board, which includes the current U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.
The voting members on FFAR’s inaugural board were selected from lists of nominees provided by industry and the National Academy of Sciences.
Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Director, MSU AgBioResearch and Assistant Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies
Former Senior Advisor and Vice President for Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation
Distinguished Professor of Horticulture and Sustainable and Community-Based Food Systems
Deputy Director, Agricultural Research and Development
Vice Chairman and Chief Scientific Officer, Global R&D
Director of the Laboratory of Renewable Resources Engineering
Corporate Vice President, Research and Development
Founder and CEO
Regents Professor in the Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health
Professor of Neurology and Director of the Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases
Professor Emeritus of the Food Animal Health Research Program of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center
Ex Officio Board Members
Now Calling for Nominations
The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research seeks outstanding early career nominees for the 2017 New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research Award. Nominees will compete for up to 10 awards, with each awardee receiving up to $600,000 total over three years.
FFAR created the New Innovator Award to help support the next generation of food and agriculture scientists who will spur future innovation to meet the needs of a growing global population. The Award funds promising individuals pursuing research with potential to sustainably enhance agricultural production or improve health through food.
Institutions of higher education, other nonprofit research institutions and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are encouraged to nominate up to two candidates for the New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research award. Nominees must be within the first three years of his or her tenure-track or equivalent faculty career. Preference will be given to individuals near the onset of their independent research careers. To facilitate a single institutional submission, FFAR recommends nominations be submitted through the organization’s Office of Sponsored Programs or a similar central office.
- Nominations Due: February 28, 2017 by 11:59 p.m. EST
- Eligible Nominees Invited to Apply: by March 10, 2017
- Applications Due: April 21, 2017 by 11:59 p.m. EST
- Download Call for Nominations for details and nomination instructions.
- Please note that only eligible nominees will be invited to apply. For reference, nominating institutions and potential nominees may download Application Guidelines.
- Questions? Please email Lucyna Kurtyka, Senior Scientific Program Director.
The Importance of Supporting New Innovators
• Investing a substantial amount in faculty members within the first three years of their careers will allow them to pursue innovative and transformational ideas uninhibited by the pressure of identifying their next grant.
• Funding early career faculty is one important way to cultivate a creative workforce who will train, encourage, and inspire future generations of agricultural and food scientists.
• This award is an important step in making agriculture an attractive field for aspiring scientists, whose need to “follow the money” often leads them to direct their research away from agriculture.
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