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

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

WASHINGTON – The Foundation for Food & 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. The Foundation for Food & 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. Sally Rockey, Ph.D.
Executive Director Emeritus

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.”


Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research

The Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) builds public-private partnerships to fund bold research addressing big food and agriculture challenges. FFAR was established in the 2014 Farm Bill to increase public agriculture research investments, fill knowledge gaps and complement the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s research agenda. FFAR’s model matches federal funding from Congress with private funding, delivering a powerful return on taxpayer investment. Through collaboration and partnerships, FFAR advances actionable science benefiting farmers, consumers and the environment.

Connect: @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.