The National Academies Keck Futures Initiative - a program of the National Academies of Science, is awarding four $20,000 prizes in 2010 to individuals or teams who have “developed creative, original works that address issues and advances in science, engineering and/or medicine for the general public.”
Nominations are currently being accepted in four categories: book, magazine/newspaper, film/radio/TV and online. Winners will be notified in Fall 2010.
If you know of a worthy individual or team you can nominate them using the online nomination form. You can learn more about the award and the selection criteria here.
Indian farmer Rajesh Kumar published an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal today that expresses his discontent with the Indian government’s recent decision to deny the use of genetically modified (GM) brinjal (eggplant) by Indian farmers.
Mr. Kumar describes the potential gains from GM brinjal, including the need for fewer pesticide applications since the crop has a built-in resistance to pests. He writes that this quality would allow for the cultivation of better and safer foods. Additionally, Mr. Kumar writes that the adoption of GM brinjal would be economically beneficial for India by improving farm production and thus reducing the economic disparity between the rich and poor in India. The opportunity for higher yields will also help fight malnutrition in India, a concern that is rising with the increasing population.
Mr. Kumar recognizes that for India to compete and feed its growing population, the farmers must be allowed to participate in the “gene revolution” and utilize all available scientific tools.
You can read Rajesh Kumar’s entire op-ed here. Additionally, the Council for Biotechnology Information interviewed and videotaped Mr. Kumar at the annual World Food Prize Symposium in October 2009. You can watch a video that features an interview with him here.
The Hawaii Crop Improvement Association (HCIA) has opened its 4th annual Dr. James L. Brewbaker Scholarship contest. Dr. Brewbaker helped establish the Corn Research Program at the University Of Hawaii College Of Agriculture in the 1960s and founded HCIA.
Three scholarships will be awarded to Hawaii high school students graduating in 2010 in the amount of $1,500, $1,000 and $500 for essays that best address how innovations in agricultural biotechnology benefit Hawaii now and in the future. The essay submission deadline is April 30, 2010.
Visit www.hciaonline.com for more information and an essay submission application.
Roger Beachy, long-time head of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, has agreed to join the Obama Administration as director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), the new research funding arm of the US Department of Agriculture. As the head of this organization, Beachy aims to fund studies that answer agriculture’s most pressing challenges, including “sustainable food production and nutrition, readiness for climate aberrations that will impact productivity and developing renewable options like biofuels.”
Under Roger Beachy’s leadership NIFA will prioritize education in its grant-making in order to “ensure that the knowledge we gain from research reaches farmers and consumers; from the lab to the field to the fork.” He also hopes to fund innovative and exploratory projects, including looking into additional areas of ag biotech development.
Roger Beachy will be speaking at the 2010 Biotechnology Industry Organization Annual Convention at a summit organized by the Food & Ag and Industrial & Environmental sections of BIO.
You can read a full interview with Mr. Beachy in Nature and Biotechnology here.