Purdue Center for Global Food Security awards research grants on U.S. student projects in 18 countries

October 17, 2012  

Gary Burniske

Gary Burniske
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A Purdue University research center leading efforts to develop the next generation of scientists and engineers to help solve world hunger is awarding $444,250 in grants to graduate students at 14 U.S. universities.

The Purdue Center for Global Food Security announced 23 research grants for student projects in 18 countries as part of the U.S. Borlaug Fellows in Global Food Security Program. The funding is through a five-year, $5 million grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development.

The grants for students at the 14 universities, including Purdue, range from $7,000 to $40,000 and are intended to provide support for overseas research projects leading to a master's or doctoral degree, Gary Burniske, managing director of the Purdue Center for Global Food Security, said Wednesday (Oct. 17) in announcing the recipients.

"We are excited to be partnering with these exceptional graduate students who have a passion to address hunger problems in these developing countries," Burniske said. "This is a major step toward laying a foundation to launch long-term international research collaborations for students and their affiliated faculty advisers and mentors and to support tomorrow's leaders across an array of disciplines related to food security."

The six funded projects led by Purdue graduate students are:

* Stephanie Rosch - How farm size, the use of formal and informal contracts, and trading institutions differ between export and domestic markets in Kenya, Africa.

* Anne Dare - Wastewater reuse in agriculture in Tunisia, Africa, and Palestine in Western Asia.

* Jeffrey Michler - Household grain management in Bangladesh, Asia.

* Ian Pope - Effect of deforestation, soil erosion and land tenure on food security in Guatemala, Central America.

* Brenda Owens - Development of carotenoids in maize as a model system in Colombia, South America.

* Madeline Spigler - Evaluation of the productivity of Beauveria bassinana-inoculated common beans and the effect of endophytic B. bassiana on bean response to pests, also in Colombia.

The other 17 funded student-led projects, their universities and the country are listed below:


* Kaitlyn Smoot, University of California Davis - Intercropping cocoa with fruit trees, extension and cooperative capacity building in Cote d'Ivoire.

* Amelia Fischer, Tufts University - The relationship between agriculture and child nutrition in a conflict environment in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

* James Lewis, Washington State University - Study of phenotypic variation of stripe rust races in Ethiopia.

* David Guerena, Cornell University - Effect of biochar on soil of tropical smallholder crop production systems in Kenya.

* Steven Reyna, Texas A&M University-Kingsville – Controlling the citrus rust mite population in Kenya.

* Andrew Crane-Droesch, University of California Berkeley - Constraints to adoption of biochar kiln and the potential for impact at scale in Kenya.

* Daniel TerAvest, Washington State University - Sustainability of conservation agriculture, continuous no-till maize and conventional agriculture on smallholder farms in Malawi.

* Maya Oren, University of California San Diego - Political time horizons and agricultural productivity in Nigeria.

* Sheryl Quail, University of Florida - Improve land-use planning, scenario modeling in Tanzania and Kenya.

* Chantal Roberts, Clark University - Value differences among diverse Ugandan stakeholders regarding food security during food storage in Uganda.


* Alyssa Cho, University of Florida - Agronomic constraints to sustainable peanut-based production systems in Vietnam.

* Melissa Rohde, Stanford University - Monitoring the availability of groundwater, utilizing a mobile phone platform in India.

Central America

* Oscar Abelleira, University of Idaho - Determining water transpiration rates in native forests and teak plantations and their effect on streamflow in Costa Rica.

* Sara Galbraith, University of Idaho – Impact of land use on bee populations in Costa Rica.

* Ariel Rivers, Pennsylvania State University - Assessing the impact of conservation agriculture on predator and pest populations in Mexico.

South America

* Grant Cavanaugh, University of Kentucky - Managing climate risk utilizing a market approach in Peru.

* Daniel Tobin, Pennsylvania State University - Impact of increased market access on household livelihood strategies used to meet food security in Peru.

This past 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. Participants engaged in discussions with experts from various disciplines to understand the multidimensional approaches needed to resolve food security problems.

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.

The Center for Global Food Security, led by distinguished Purdue professor Gebisa Ejeta, 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 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

Sources: Gary Burniske, 765-494-0941, grburniske@purdue.edu

Gebisa Ejeta, 765 494-4320, gejeta@purdue.edu

Related websites:
U.S. Borlaug Graduate Research Fellowship Grants

Discovery Park

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