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K-State Research and Extension News

Released: May 9, 2017

K-State Dean of the College of Agriculture will co-chair National Academies’ study of food and agriculture breakthroughs
Study will explore scientific approaches

Dean John FlorosWASHINGTON, D.C. – Kansas State University will have a prominent role in helping the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine identify compelling future directions for research in food and agriculture.

John Floros, dean of the College of Agriculture and director of K-State Research and Extension, has been named co-chair of the academies’ Science Breakthroughs 2030 project, along with Susan R. Wessler of the University of California, Riverside, by the Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources.

The year-long study will explore novel scientific approaches suggested by members of the scientific community.

Floros and Wessler will lead the development of a strategy to answer these questions through research:

  1. What are the greatest challenges that food and agriculture are likely to face in the coming decades?
  2. What are the greatest foreseeable opportunities for advances in food and agricultural science?
  3. What fundamental knowledge gaps exist that limit the ability of scientists to respond to these challenges as well as take advantage of the opportunities?
  4. What general areas of research should be advanced and supported to fill these knowledge gaps?

Special attention will be given to ideas that include aspects of science and engineering that are not typically associated with food and agriculture. Based on community input, the study committee will produce a report describing ambitious and achievable scientific pathways to addressing major problems and creating new opportunities for the food and agriculture system.  Major support for the study is provided by the SoAR Foundation and the Foundation on Food and Agriculture Research.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine are private, nonprofit institutions that provide expert advice on some of the most pressing challenges facing the nation and the world.

Floros, who has been dean and director as well as professor of Food Science and Engineering at Kansas State University for five years, will provide the project his broad perspective of the agriculture-food-nutrition-health continuum and expertise in food processing, engineering and packaging systems. For the previous 12 years, he was head of the Food Science Department at the Pennsylvania State University. Floros is a former member of FDA’s Science Panel and a Fellow and Past-President of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT).

Wessler is currently the Neil A. and Rochelle A. Campbell Presidential Chair for Innovations in Science Education and Distinguished Professor of Genetics at the University of California, Riverside. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and in 2011 she was elected Home Secretary of the National Academy of Sciences, the first woman to hold this position in its 150 year history. Wessler is a plant molecular geneticist who studies the role of transposable elements in generating genetic diversity.

The co-chairs are provisionally appointed pending approval of the full committee slate, which is still in the process of being formed and vetted. For more information on the study, visit the Science Breakthroughs 2030website.

Sign up to be notified of the upcoming Call for Input by subscribing to the study newsletter.  Contact the study director, Peggy Yih, by sending an email to: breakthroughs@nas.edu.


K‑State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well‑being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K‑State campus in Manhattan.

For more information:
John Floros, 785-532-7137