The U.S. Department of Agriculture is seeking public comment on the development of a policy to increase access to the results of federally funded agricultural research. Dr. Catherine Woteki, the USDA's Chief Scientist and Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics announced today that USDA will receive comment at two live teleconferences and via email through Dec. 9, 2015.
"Our goal is to help stakeholders understand and participate in planning for an increase in public access to scholarly publications and scientific data funded by USDA,” said Woteki. “We see this increased access as an opportunity to raise the profile of the field of agricultural research, highlighting its many contributions to scientific innovation and its value to society. Stakeholder insights are vital to planning this new era of open access so we can best meet the needs of society and of scientists.”
The two webinars and their topics have been scheduled as follows:
- Monday, Nov. 23, 2015, 11 a.m. Pacific Time: Policy impacts related to scholarly papers
The conference begins at 11 a.m. PST (2 p.m. Eastern Time) on Nov. 23, 2015; you may join 10 minutes prior.
Step 2: Instructions for connecting to conference audio will then be presented on your computer. If you will be connecting via the AT&T Connect Participant Application, we strongly recommend that you install version 11.5 prior to the conference. If you are unable to do so, we recommend you join the conference using the Web Participant Application. If you are unable to connect to the conference by computer, you may listen by telephone only at 1-877-369-5243 or 1-617-668-3633 using 0387588# or Find an Alternate Number. If you need technical assistance, call the Help Desk at 1-888-796-6118 or 1-847-562-7015.
- Friday, Dec. 4, 2015, 11 a.m. Pacific Time: Policy impacts related to scientific data
Please copy and paste these instructions and provide to participants only.
The conference begins at 2:00 PM Eastern Time on December 04, 2015; you may join 10 minutes prior.
Step 2: Instructions for connecting to conference audio will then be presented on your computer
You will be connected to the conference with the AT&T Connect Web Participant Application - there is no software download or installation required. If you are unable to connect to the conference by computer, you may listen by telephone only at 1-877-369-5243 or 1-617-668-3633 using 0392090# or Find an Alternate Number. If you need technical assistance, call the Help Desk at 1-888-796-6118 or 1-847-562-7015.
The public can also submit comments in writing by either sending them online to: (USDAresearchaccess@nifa.usda.gov) or mailing them to:
United States Department of Agriculture
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
c/o Paul Tanger, Institute of Food Production and Sustainability
1400 Independence Avenue SW, Stop 2240
Washington, DC 20250-2201
Comments will be received through Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015.
In 2013, the current administration directed federal science agencies to develop plans to increase access to the results of federally funded scientific research. Since then, USDA has been drafting a public access policy for federally funded scholarly publications as well as for scientific datasets produced with the use of federal funds.
The listening sessions should be of particular interest to stakeholders who have an interest in the public access of federally funded agricultural research data. These stakeholders include federally funded researchers, industry scientists, producers, universities, libraries, publishers, users of federally funded research results, and civil society groups.
For more information on public access to scholarly publications and digital scientific data policy development and implementation plans, visit http://www.ree.usda.gov.
Half the funds for the endowed chairs was provided by UC President Janet Napolitano; the other half was donated by the California Pistachio Research Board. One is the UC Cooperative Extension Presidential Chair for Tree Nut Genetics; the other is the UC Cooperative Extension Presidential Chair for Tree Nut Soil Science and Plant Water Relations.
“The establishment of endowed chairs represents an historic occasion for UC ANR and is something we've never before enjoyed during the 100-years UC ANR Cooperative Extension has served California,” Humiston said. “The pistachio industry's contribution demonstrates its high level of confidence in our research and outreach program, and President Napolitano's match shows her recognition of the work we do not only on campuses but throughout UC ANR.”
UCCE is the applied research and outreach arm of the University of California that serves the agricultural industry, coordinates the 4-H program, supports natural resources stewardship, and provides nutrition education programs throughout the state.
The California Pistachio Research Board has a long history of funding ANR research. Since its establishment in 2007, the program's donations have totaled more than $3 million. Relative to other major California commodities, pistachio production is new. The first commercial crop was produced in 1976. In 2014, farmers harvested 519 million pounds of pistachios, valued at $1.8 billion.
Tom Coleman, a Fresno County pistachio farmer and chair of the Pistachio Research Board, said he enjoys informally comparing notes with other growers, but that doesn't substitute for scientific research.
“I find it absolutely invaluable to have good scientific research to apply on our farms,” Coleman said. “With impending changes in our water situation and a changing climate, research is really our only option.”
In fact, the industry has already felt the impact of climate change on yield. The pistachio growers expect the 2015 yield to be nearly 50 percent lower than the previous year, in large part due to a lack of sufficient winter chilling and water supply cuts, said Bob Klein, manager of the California Pistachio Research Board.
“We know that our future is going to look better with more research as we face the challenges of a warming climate and less water,” Klein said.
Napolitano created the Presidential Match for Endowed Chairs last year for UC campuses and UC ANR to use as an incentive to encourage donors to establish endowed chairs to fund research. Endowed chairs help attract and retain top-flight academics. Once established, endowed chairs provide a dedicated source of funds, in perpetuity, for the chair holder's scholarly activities.
“Donors who endow chairs are helping support the agricultural industry today, and contributing to future growth, innovation and success,” Humiston said. “We hope to establish more endowed chairs in UC Cooperative Extension with the help of our partners.”
UC ANR Joint Strategic Initiatives Conference in Sacramento are now online.
More than 350 people participated, with the greatest number attending the lunch conversation with President Janet Napolitano and VP Glenda Humiston. Among the topics Napolitano and Humiston discussed was ANR's role in the President's Initiatives, including Global Food, UC-Mexico and Carbon Neutrality.
If you attended the conference and haven't already evaluated the conference, send your comments by completing an anonymous survey. Your input is instrumental in understanding what was done well and what can be improved.
Videos of trainings, PowerPoint presentations and posters have been linked to the conference website:
- Some of the in-service trainings were recorded. To listen to the speakers deliver their presentations and view their PowerPoints, visit the In-service Trainings website and click on “Video” under each presentation. Not all of the trainings were recorded.
- PDF files of Tuesday's highlighted presentations PowerPoints have been added online. Click the titles in the online conference agenda (not the PDF) to view the description for each presentation and to open the PDFs.
- PDFs of posters displayed at both of the receptions are posted. Poster presenters, if you do not see your file, please send it to ANR Program Support so it can be added.
Three University of California students will be working with scientists in the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources to study food security, nutrition education and agricultural research and extension.
UC Berkeley graduate students Erika Brown and Matthew Shapero and UC Davis senior Jay Gelvezon will each receive a $4,000 fellowship through the university's Global Food Initiative.
“It is imperative to get students involved in UC ANR's activities to move the world toward food security for all and a more sustainable future,” said Glenda Humiston, UC vice president for Agriculture and Natural Resources. “The fresh ideas that the UC Global Food Initiative fellows contribute will help us extend what we learn through research to improve the health of Californians.”
Brown, a native of San Diego, will work closely with Lorrene Ritchie, director of the UC ANR Nutrition Policy Institute, on a student food-security research project. In the spring of 2015, nearly 9,000 students from all 10 UC campuses participated in a survey, which was designed to document the prevalence of food insecurity among students and to identify characteristics of students who experience food insecurity. Brown, a public health graduate student at UC Berkeley, will help analyze the survey results to better understand factors contributing to food insecurity and the consequences on students. Since arriving at UC Berkeley, she has worked with several organizations in the Bay Area, including the San Francisco Food Security Taskforce, to identify and eliminate barriers to achieving food security.
Shapero, a native of Santa Barbara, will lead a group of graduate students to organize seminars and workshops for students who are interested in pursuing careers in research and extension in nutrition, youth development, agriculture and natural resources with Cooperative Extension. Shapero's fellowship will also support the UC Berkeley graduate student-led Cooperative Extension Showcase, which brings UC Cooperative Extension advisors and specialists to the Berkeley campus to discuss their work and to network with graduate students. At the showcase this fall, students will have an opportunity to meet potential academic mentors and discuss future collaborative research. Shapero, a range management graduate student, has worked on farms in the Sierra foothills and served two years on the Nevada County Agricultural Advisory Commission and two years on the board of directors for Nevada County Grown.
Gelvezon, a native of Torrance, will work with UC ANR's Strategic Communications team on projects that convey the benefits of UC ANR's food-related research and outreach in communities throughout California. Gelvezon, who is pursuing degrees in both nutrition science and communication, will engage in social media research, photography, video and media outreach projects. The UC Davis senior has served for the past year as a photographer and photo editor for the school's newspaper the California Aggie. He has also worked as a sports nutrition social media intern, creating daily Twitter content, flyers and Instagram posts, and working with UC Davis Athletics to film and edit videos that provide nutrition information for UC Davis athletes.
The University of California aims to put the world on a path to sustainably and nutritiously feed itself. Through its Global Food Initiative, UC is building on existing efforts and creating new collaborations among its 10 campuses, affiliated national laboratories and UC ANR to improve food security, health and sustainability.
To get UC students involved in the Global Food Initiative effort, the UC Office of the President is providing fellowship funds to each UC campus, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and UC ANR. All of the UC Global Food Initiative fellows systemwide are listed at http://universityofcalifornia.edu/news/uc-students-awarded-global-food-initiative-fellowships.
“Kathryn Uhrich has excelled as an academic administrator, interdisciplinary researcher and inspiring educator. Her multidisciplinary research has spurred new technologies as well as creative collaborations with agricultural and plant researchers,” said D'Anieri. “We are very much looking forward to her arrival at UCR.”
D'Anieri expressed his appreciation for the dedication of interim dean Cynthia Larive, professor of chemistry, and for the effort of the search committee, led by Michael Pazzani, UCR's vice chancellor for research.
Uhrich, a distinguished polymer chemist, served from 2009 through 2013 as dean of Mathematical and Physical Sciences in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers. Serving more than 300 faculty in six departments, she developed programs to increase research and teaching collaborations between departments and colleges in the university. Working with the department chairs, she led the modification of the university's promotion process to recognize contributions of academic leadership. Under her leadership, support for research funding and assistance with applications for extramural funding increased along with university investments in new approaches to teaching science.
“UCR's commitment to excellence in interdisciplinary research, inclusion, education, and international engagement strongly aligns with my experience and expertise,” said Uhrich. “The excellence within the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences is well-known by scholars, and it is an honor to join the faculty and leadership team of UC Riverside. I am excited to work with staff and faculty to further academic excellence, as well as with students and alumni who have benefited from UCR's commitment to excellence.”
Both as dean and leading member of the Rutgers faculty, Uhrich worked with the university leadership and state legislators to initiate the construction and design of a new chemistry/science building to expand both the research and teaching capacity of the faculty. Previously, as graduate program director in the chemistry and chemical biology department, Uhrich worked to diversify the graduate program to include more women and people of color. Working with alumni, she raised funding to create new fellowships to support graduate students.
Uhrich's research links chemistry with the life sciences and engineering disciplines to create new materials and design new devices in which polymers can be used to increase health and extend life. Widely recognized as a leading innovator in polymer research, Uhrich's research focuses on designing bioactive, biodegradable polymers for use in drug delivery, food safety and personal care. She has been issued more than 70 U.S. and international patents, and her work has spawned several start-up companies, including Polymerix Corporation, which created biodegradable delivery systems for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and coatings for surgical implants.
Uhrich has authored more than 140 peer-reviewed papers. She has also collaborated extensively with colleagues in this country and overseas, and worked in close partnership with companies such as Chanel, DuPont, Exxon Mobil, Johnson & Johnson and Merck.
Uhrich earned a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Cornell University, and her B.S. in chemistry, with honors, from the University of North Dakota.
In her work at Rutgers, she has been a champion of enhanced STEM education for women and people of color. As dean, Uhrich worked with departments and the University to ensure inclusive practices for faculty – from faculty hiring, to faculty promotion and recognition. As a board member of the Rutgers' Office for the Promotion of Women, Science, Engineering and Mathematics, Uhrich worked to foster supportive environments for students, faculty and staff from diverse backgrounds. As a researcher, Uhrich's interest in mentoring the next generation of scientists is reflected by the composition and size of her research team: she has supervised 60 Ph.D. students from four departments and more than 80 undergraduate students.
Uhrich's professional experience includes stints as a visiting professor at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, and the University of New South Wales, Australia. Her research lab has hosted dozens of visiting scientists from across the globe including Australia, Brazil, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Netherlands, Nigeria, Puerto Rico, Scotland, and Turkey. Through various roles, Uhrich champions institutional support for international research at Rutgers. She was a postdoctoral researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and also worked at AT&T Bell Laboratories and at Eastman Kodak.
In addition to her status as a fellow of the American Chemical Society, she is editor-in-chief of the Journal of Bioactive and Compatible Polymers and a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Members of the search committee were
- Michael Pazzani, Vice Chancellor, Research and Economic Development (Chair)
- Ward Beyermann, Associate Professor, Physics
- Anupama Dahanukar, Assistant Professor, Entomology
- Jay Gan, Professor, Environmental Sciences
- Cheryl Gerry, Financial and Administrative Officer, CNAS
- Mikeal Roose, Chair and Professor, Botany and Plant Sciences
- Frances Sladek, Professor, Cell Biology
- Glenn Stanley, Professor, Psychology
- Sue Wessler, Distinguished Professor, Botany and Plant Sciences
- Preston Williams, President of the Graduate Student Association
- Jose Wudka, Professor, Physics and Astronomy
- Francisco Zaera, Distinguished Professor, Chemistry