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K-State Research and Extension

Grand Challenges

During a strategic planning process with our stakeholders, K-State Research and Extension identified five grand challenges facing every Kansan: global food systems, water, health, community vitality and developing tomorrow’s leaders. Our efforts in research and extension focus on addressing these challenges to help better our state, country and world. 

grand challenges


Global Food Systems

The world’s population is expected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050. To feed and sustain a growing population, we develop innovative practices that benefit Kansas, our nation and the world. Through cutting-edge research in areas such as genetics, disease prevention and food security, we help agriculture — Kansas’ largest employer — be more profitable, sustainable and efficient.


Future generations of Kansans will need a reliable source of clean water. We develop and implement programs to help Kansans maintain and improve water quality and quantity. These include pioneering new practices and techniques; researching high-priority water issues; facilitating meetings among local, state and federal officials; and effectively communicating research results.

Developing Tomorrow's Leaders

The next generation of leaders will shape the future of our state, country and world. To prepare our youth, we equip them with the strengths and skills to lead for a lifetime. Through 4-H, we empower young people to be true leaders — to have confidence, know how to work well with others, endure challenges, stick with a job until it is done and give back to their community.

Community Vitality

We help residents and all communities — rural, suburban and urban — grow and prosper. We energize community groups and aid local businesses by providing leadership, research-based expertise and technical assistance to make communities better places to live and work.


A vibrant economy starts with a healthy population. We define health as a person’s physical, mental and emotional well-being. Our programs promote behaviors that improve quality of life, healthy development and active behaviors across life stages for all socioeconomic groups.