Participants at the June 7, 2011, CSU‘s Agricultural Research Institute’s Faculty Research Partnership Building Conference faced no shortage of food for thought as they heard from a variety of presenters, including representatives of other CSU research consortia focused on biotechnology, coastal/marine issues and water resources.
Here are a few proverbial plums gleaned from the podium:
- Today’s world population is about 6.8 billion; some estimates project it to reach 11 billion by 2050; and already about three-quarters of the world’s people do not have an adequate food supply. Cal Poly Pomona President J. Michael Ortiz summed it up: “It is a striking challenge that we’re facing.”
- On June 2, the USDA announced its shift to a need food-choice icon, abandoning the traditional “food pyramid” to its new four-part “My Plate”; and, according to ARI Executive Director Joe Bezerra, “The new USDA food guidelines will affect what growers choose to grow.
- “The research problems are so big and interdisciplinary, they have to be addressed by teams,” said CSU Executive Vice Chancellor Ephraim P. Smith. In the CSU those teams, he said, should include undergraduates, even freshmen at times. Undergraduate research, he said, is recognized nationally as “a high-impact practice” when it comes to learning.
- With CSU campuses collectively receiving more than $500 million annually to support research, the CSU looking to turn more of those findings into new products and practices. Elizabeth L. Ambos, who directs the CSU’s Research Initiatives and Partnerships, outlined efforts to implement a strategic, systemwide technology-transfer program for the CSU.