As the top-ranked university in the world for agriculture and one of the top 10 public universities in the nation, UC Davis is uniquely positioned to host a World Food Center that will tackle one of the most critical issues facing society today — how to feed and nourish a growing planet in an environmentally sustainable way.
With the world’s population projected to increase to nine billion by 2050, there’s an urgent need to reform food production to meet the rising demand. It becomes even more daunting when one considers how climate change will affect food production, the way food is grown and its ultimate role in human health.
Few major universities have the interdisciplinary research strengths and legacy of breakthroughs that UC Davis does in agriculture, food science, health, genetics, biotechnology, intellectual property, sustainability, engineering and the social sciences and humanities.
UC Davis is the one university that can shape the future of food through innovation and enterprise.
Founding Director Roger Beachy
Roger Beachy, internationally known for his scientific leadership and groundbreaking research related to disease-resistance in crops, will become the founding director on Jan. 1, 2014, of the new World Food Center at the University of California, Davis.
“UC Davis is one of the very few universities in the world equipped to address global food challenges in a comprehensive manner,” Beachy said.
“Agriculture must provide food for an anticipated global population greater than 9 billion people by the year 2050, including roughly 12 million more people right here in California,” he said.
Beachy, an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences and the 2001 recipient of the prestigious Wolf Prize in Agriculture, will continue to serve as the founding executive director and CEO of the Global Institute for Food Security in Saskatchewan, Canada, until he takes his new position at UC Davis.
He was appointed in 2009 by President Obama as the first director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, where he served until 2011.
From 1999 to 2009, Beachy was the founding president and director of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, a not-for-profit, plant science research center near St. Louis, Mo.
He headed the plant biology division at The Scripps Research Institute from 1991 to 1998, where he was a professor and the Scripps Family Chair in Cell Biology, as well as co-director of the institute’s International Laboratory for Tropical Agricultural Biotechnology.
From 1979 to 1991, he was a biology faculty member at Washington University in St. Louis, and served as director of the university’s Center for Plant Science and Biotechnology.
Beachy holds a doctoral degree in plant pathology from Michigan State University, and was an adjunct professor from 1992 to 2005 at Peking University, Beijing, China, and from 1997 to 1999 at UC Riverside.
World Food Center home page photo: Celebrating the announcement are, from left, Karen Ross, secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture; Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove; Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi; and Roger Beachy, who will join UC Davis Jan. 1 as founding director of the World Food Center.