Science Breakthroughs to Advance Food and Agricultural Research by 2030
Year Awarded 2018
FFAR award amount $348,000
Total award amount $698,000
Location Washington, D.C.
Matching Funders SoAR Foundation, USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and National Science Foundation
A Promising Future
The next decade is pivotal to developing sustainable agriculture science and technology. Expanding populations burden agricultural systems stressed by climate change. Crop and livestock pests and disease endanger agricultural resiliency. These challenges call for bold action.
The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine report, “Science Breakthroughs to Advance Food and Agricultural Research by 2030,” identifies promising scientific breakthroughs possible to advance food and agriculture science and calls for developing creative frameworks and tools.
With input from stakeholders, the report determines a vision that harnesses emerging trends, encourages interdisciplinary research and informs policymakers and academia. The report identifies five food and agriculture moonshots: microbiomes, gene editing, data analysis, sensors and biosensors and transdisciplinary collaborations.
Food & Agriculture Moonshots
The report involves the scientific community at large in describing scientific opportunities with high potential to create pioneering knowledge breakthroughs leading to new frameworks for research and the food and agricultural system. It recommends building significant research efforts around the following initiatives:
- The potential of microbiomes—in the animal gut, in soil and everywhere in between—to increase efficiency and overcome obstacles in production
- Advancements in genetic evaluation and editing, including making the most of CRISPR and other technologies to accelerate the evolution of food production
- Expanding and analyzing the many pools of data involved in growing and producing food
- Developing and improving sensors and biosensors across all agricultural sectors to increase productivity and better target interventions
- Examining, through transdisciplinary collaborations, entire systems in food production and finding the keys to adapting and transforming them to overcome challenges and increase production
In addition, the report makes recommendations for achieving these moonshots. It encourages investing in physical and cyber infrastructure and applied research, engaging non-agriculture professionals and other talented individuals into food and agriculture research and supporting links between biophysical and socioeconomic sciences.