Purdue Center for Global Food Security awards research grants on U.S. student projects in 12 countries

September 25, 2015  

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 another round of grants totaling $300,000 to graduate students at 12 U.S. universities.

The Purdue Center for Global Food Security announced the 14 research grants for student projects in 10 countries as part of the U.S. Borlaug Fellows in Global Food Security Program. The $300,000 in funding comes from a five-year, $5 million grant to Purdue from the U.S. Agency for International Development.

"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," said distinguished agronomy professor Gebisa Ejeta, director of the center.

Grants from this round range from $9,000 to $26,059 per student 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, their university and the country in which their research will be conducted are:


* Carrie Miranda, Ph.D., University of Missouri - Ghana, $26,059

* Achint Sanghi, M.S., Purdue University - Ghana, $9,127

* Taisha Venort, M.S., Purdue University - Kenya, $14,950

* Matthew Berry, Ph.D., Michigan State University - Tanzania, $20,807.99

* Anna Fairbairn, M.S., University of Illinois - Tanzania, $25,715

* Mindy Spyker, M.P.H., University of South Florida - Tanzania, $23,069


* Elena Broaddus, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University - Nepal, $19,073

* Alex Greenspan, Ph.D., University of California, Davis - India, $22,167

* Katie Hoeberling, M.S., University of California, Davis - Cambodia, $19,720


Latin America, South America and the Caribbean

* Robert Brown, Ph.D., Purdue University - Colombia, $24,509

* Richard Bruton, Ph.D., Texas A&M - Colombia, $15,303

* Ryan Dibala, Ph.D., University of Missouri - Panama, $25,669

* Christopher Hwang, Ph.D., University of Florida - Colombia, $17,950

* Elizabeth Sloffer, Ph.D., University of Illinois - Honduras, $19,550

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 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

Sources: Gebisa Ejeta, 765 494-4320, gejeta@purdue

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

Pamela McClure, 765-4945442, pmcclure@purdue.edu 

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