Partnerships and innovation in food, ag and health

(UC Davis News) Taking on the big challenges of food security, sustainable agriculture and global health for a growing global population is the aim of a one-day symposium at the University of California, Davis, on Jan. 14. Jointly organized with Mars, Incorporated and in collaboration with the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings, the symposium marks the official launch of the Innovation Institute for Food and Health, part of the World Food Center at UC Davis.

“In the spirit of global partnerships committed to solving societal grand challenges, I am very pleased to host this symposium at UC Davis,” said UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi. “To make progress on global challenges in food, agriculture and health, we need to collaborate across sectors. My hope is that this event, marking the launch of our new Innovation Institute and celebrating the collaboration between UC Davis and Mars, will advance those partnerships.”

The symposium runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Mondavi Center, and registration is free. The keynote lecture will be given by Professor Elizabeth Blackburn of UC San Francisco, winner of the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine, 2009.

“During the past four decades, UC Davis and Mars have partnered on research programs related to nutrition, health, sustainable agriculture, engineering, economics and food safety,” said Harold H. Schmitz, chief science officer of Mars, Incorporated. “We hope that this symposium builds on this collaboration and triggers a renewed cross-sector focus on engaging the world’s best talent to explore new areas of science and innovation that address the global food, ag and health challenges we face.”

Panel discussions will include “Solving Agriculture’s Greatest Challenges”; scientific discovery and innovation in food, agriculture and health; and the role of venture capital in meeting these challenges. All sessions from the meeting will be streamed live online and live tweeted via @marsglobal and with the hashtag #Innovation2015.

The Innovation Institute for Food and Health was announced in September 2014 supported by a pledge of $40 million from Mars and $20 million from UC Davis over 10 years. The institute will advance new discoveries in sustainable food, agriculture and health, not just in the laboratory but at all steps along the way to commercial use.

Held annually since 1951, the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings in Germany bring young scientists together with Nobel laureates for a week of unique, multigenerational dialogue based on the mission to “educate, inspire and connect.” UC Davis researchers Aimee Bryan, a doctoral student in inorganic fundamental chemistry, and Pablo Zamora, a senior scientist in plant genomics, attended the meeting in 2013.

The symposium is accompanied by a unique exhibit of photographs of Nobel prize-winning scientists, “Sketches of Science,” produced by the Nobel Museum in collaboration with the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings. This is the only U.S. showing of the exhibit, which runs through Jan. 26 in the Mondavi Center lobby.

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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