Purdue Center for Global Food Security awards research grants on U.S. student projects in 10 countries

May 6, 2013  

A Purdue research center leading efforts to develop the next generation of scientists and engineers to help solve world hunger is awarding $175,000 in grants to graduate students at seven U.S. universities.

The Purdue Center for Global Food Security announced the 11 research grants for student projects in 10 countries as part of the U.S. Borlaug Fellows in Global Food Security Program. The $175,307 in funding for the grants is through a five-year, $5 million grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development.

"The recipients of U.S. Borlaug grants this year are solidly focused on addressing the challenges of food security globally -- from developing disease-resistant eggplant rootstocks in Bangladesh to improving distribution channels in Uganda," says distinguished Purdue professor Gebisa Ejeta, director of the Purdue Center for Global Food Security.

"Our goal is to help prepare the next generation of young scientists and engineers who can effectively tackle the growing complexity around the global food security agenda."

Grants from this round are $8,000 to $20,000 for projects lasting from six months to a year and are intended to provide support for graduate students interested in conducting critical food security research toward a master's or doctoral degree. The recipients and their research projects are:


* Renee Bullock, PhD, University of Florida -- Tanzania, $20,000: "Contracts and Global Value Chains: Are They Inclusive Market Interventions that Promote Sustainable Agricultural Intensification in the East Usambaras, Tanzania?"

* Michael Lege, PhD, Washington State University -- Uganda, $19,985: "Effective Distribution Channels for Bean Seed and Rhizobial Inoculants."

* Matthew Stasiewicz, PhD, Cornell University -- Kenya, $14,990: "Local Hammer Mills as the Focal Point for Mycotoxin Control in Kenya."


* Timothy Gorman, PhD, Cornell University -- Vietnam, $20,000: "The Tides of Change: Water Access, Livelihood Resilience and Food Security in the Coastal Mekong Delta."

* Alejandra Huerta, PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison -- Bangladesh, $8,295: "Evaluation of Eggplant Rootstock for Resistance to Bacterial Wilt."

* Rebakah Minarchek, PhD, Cornell University -- Indonesia, $16,544: "Creating Commodities in Halimun National Forest: Changing Market Access and the Impact on Food Security and Gender Relations."

* Rachel Murray, MS, University of Wisconsin-Madison -- Nepal, $11,175: "Effect of Farmer Managed Irrigation System Adaptations on Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability in a Changing Nepal."

* Deborah Williams, MS, Louisiana State University -- Nepal, $15,000: "Remittance and Migration: Impact on Technology Adoption, Natural Resource Conservation, Food Security and Household Welfare in Nepal."

Latin America and the Caribbean

* Jeremy Schwartzbord, PhD, Cornell University -- Haiti, $14,678: "Elucidation of Aflatoxin Exposure Among Rural Haitians and Acceptability of Peanut-Based Animal Feed for Farmers."

* Sean Thompson, PhD, Texas A&M University -- Mexico, $14,640: "Estimating Wheat Root Biomass Using Ground Penetrating Radar."

* Kristen Unwala, PhD, University of Idaho -- Costa Rica, $20,000: "The Effects of Climate and Agricultural Practices on Water Availability and Water Pollution in a Tropical Catchment."

As a complement to the U.S. Borlaug Fellows Program, the Center for Global Food Security conducts a Summer Institute for Global Food Security. Thirty-five graduate students from 25 U.S. universities will participate in the second annual Summer Institute on Global Food Security from May 28 to June 8 at the West Lafayette campus.

The two-week learning program is for graduate students who are interested in developing a holistic understanding of the conceptual challenges around global food security with a focus on cross-disciplinary problem solving of real-world development challenges.

Last summer, the Center for Global Food Security hosted the first U.S. Borlaug Summer Institute on Global Food Security at Purdue for more than 30 U.S. graduate students, including six from Purdue.

Borlaug, an agronomist and humanitarian who died in 2009, is called the father of the "green revolution." He is credited with saving millions of lives worldwide by developing high-yielding, disease-resistant wheat varieties. For his work, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970.

Led by Ejeta, the Center for Global Food Security was launched in the University's Discovery Park in 2010 to take up one of the world's most pressing challenges: getting enough food to people who need it the most today and producing enough to meet even greater future demands.

Ejeta, a native of Ethiopia, received the 2009 World Food Prize for his work in developing sorghum varieties resistant to drought and the parasitic weed Striga. His research has dramatically increased the production and availability of sorghum for hundreds of millions of people in Africa, where it is a major crop.

Writer: Phillip Fiorini, 765-496-3133, pfiorini@purdue.edu

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