The Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research (FFAR) has established a new National Academy of Sciences (NAS) prize for food and agriculture research. The $100,000 prize will be awarded to a mid-career researcher currently engaged in food & ag research. The endowment is underwritten by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and joint support from FFAR and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation endows the prize in perpetuity.
The first award will be given in 2017 and recognize a person, or persons, who have shown an extraordinary contribution to ag or to the understanding of the biology of a species fundamentally important to ag or food production. 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.
“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.”
This prize is the first of its kind to be awarded by NAS. “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.”
Ambassador Kenneth Quinn noted that Dr. Norman Borlaug believed it was critical that those who recognize and inspire global breakthroughs in food production should be honored. He added that Borlaug would “strongly support and warmly welcome” the new food and agriculture prize.
Rob Horsch, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation deputy director of agricultural development, added, “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. This new prize will acknowledge, reward and encourage major contributions to the field.”