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Posts Tagged: Gabriel Youtsey

UC ANR joins new artificial intelligence institute

I am very pleased to announce that with a $20 million award from the National Science Foundation and several federal agencies, UC ANR is collaborating with UC Davis and other institutions to create a new artificial intelligence institute for next-generation food systems.

The farming/food industry is experiencing a technology revolution. Digital, biological and mechanical innovations are being applied to solve long-standing challenges such as the impacts of climate change, ensuring food and nutrition security, and sustainable and profitable crop production. Artificial intelligence (AI) can be applied to most of these innovations, as they all have one common attribute: they produce and consume large amounts of data. AI is a way to put the large amount of data we have to work for us, making computers and machines smarter and more effective.

The USDA-NSF AI for Next Generation Food Systems (AIFS) puts UC ANR in a leading role with UC Davis, UC Berkeley, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Cornell in developing AI-based technology for the food system, but,perhaps more importantly, in applying them in real-world situations, training a next-generation workforce, and engaging the public in their value.

UC ANR staff and academics will have the opportunity to engage with AIFS through virtual and live events, research, extension and commercialization projects, workforce development activities and more. In many ways, AIFS will be a new support center for UC ANR staff and academics, helping to provide the latest training and tools for UC ANR's Cooperative Extension and outreach activities in California and beyond.

Gabe Youtsey, UC ANR chief innovation officer and Maggi Kelly, director of UC ANR's Informatics and GIS program, will be the primary UC ANR contacts for AIFS. In the coming weeks, AIFS will provide further information about events and ways to engage. Please reach out to gdyoutsey@ucanr.edu to express your interest in getting more information as AIFS is launched.

Glenda Humiston
Vice President

Ilias Tagkopoulos, right, professor in the UC Davis Department of Computer Science and Genome Center, is director of the new AI institute.
Posted on Thursday, August 27, 2020 at 4:05 PM

Seed planted to grow Northern California Ag Innovation Hub

Farmers, ag innovators and venture capitalists gathered in Woodland to discuss creating Northern California's Ag Innovation Hub.

On Jan. 30, 2018, another seed was planted for the future of Northern California's agriculture industry. That seed was a commitment to innovation and new technologies in a region where the primary economic driver is agriculture.

Around 200 people, including farmers, ag innovators and venture capitalists, attended an event in Woodland titled “Creating Northern California's Ag Innovation Hub,” presented by UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, AgStart, The Food Front and the City of Woodland. 

Glenda Humiston, UC vice president for agriculture and natural resources, gave the keynote speech and talked about the importance of synergy between agriculture, innovation and technology in California, while discussing 21st century challenges, such as rural broadband connectivity, going forward.

“Entrepreneurship in our rural areas is far greater than in our urban areas,” Humiston said on ?ag tech innovation.

She urged ag innovators to use UC institutions and programs, including the UC Integrated Pest Management Program, the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, the Agricultural Issues Center, UC Informatics and GIS, the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, California 4-H, California Naturalist, the UC Master Gardener Program, the UC Master Food Preserver Program, the California Institute for Water Resources, the UC Nutrition Policy Institute, the UC Cooperative Extension system, the UC Research Extension Center system, Apps for Ag, along with all of the UC campuses.

There were two panel discussions during the event, both of which were moderated by Lon Hatamiya of The Hatamiya Group.

The first panel focused on agriculture in the global and statewide perspective. Panelists included Gabe Youtsey of UC ANR, Seana Day of Better Food Ventures and The Mixing Bowl Hub, Megan Nunes of Vinsight and John Selep of AgStart.

“One of the key innovations that needs to happen is marrying the ‘strange bedfellows' of data science and the grower and ag community,” said Youtsey, UC ANR's chief innovation officer.

He talked about thinking outside the box on public and private partnerships to create a better ecosystem for collaboration in the California ag tech community. Youtsey also noted that rural broadband connectivity was the limiting factor to bridging the gap between the Central Valley and Silicon Valley, and affirmed that UC ANR's Verde Innovation Network for Entrepreneurship (VINE) was working hard to address this.

“We have the opportunity here to create a world-class innovation hub that will be second-to-none,” he said.

Collaboration among public institutions and private companies create an ecosystem to better foster innovation, said Gabe Youtsey.

Nunes of Vinsight, a software for winegrowers, stated that “UC Davis research is kind of the first ‘open source' for ag tech and innovation.”

The second panel focused on the regional and local perspective of agriculture. The panelists were Justin Siegel of the UC Davis Genome Center, Frank Muller of Muller Ranch, Dennis Donohue of Western Growers, and Ken Hiatt of the City of Woodland and The Food Front.

Siegel indicated that the tech industry is beginning to hit a steady state now and doesn't have as much exponential growth as before, but there are still huge numbers of entrepreneurs flooding into it.

“Ag tech needs to capitalize on educating them about ag,” he said.

Muller of Muller Ranch, a Yolo County diversified farm consisting of several thousand acres, touched on the importance of technology in agriculture.

“For me, ag tech is finding new ways to produce more with less and to do it more sustainably,” he said. 

Woodland officials have already identified a 351-acre site for a mixed-use research park about eight miles north of UC Davis, where both commercial and residential development will be modeled after other successful tech parks near research universities in California. The only difference will be that this one will be focused on agricultural technology and will provide a place for new companies to incubate, grow, collaborate and prosper.

Related reading about creating Northern California's Ag Innovation Hub: 

https://www.comstocksmag.com/longreads/woodland-way

http://www.capradio.org/articles/2018/01/30/woodland-hopes-to-create-agriculture-innovation-center-near-uc-davis/

http://www.dailydemocrat.com/business/20180130/woodland-as-ag-hub-topic-of-forum

 

 

 

 

Posted on Monday, February 26, 2018 at 10:12 AM
  • Author: Tyler Ash
Focus Area Tags: Innovation

ANR invites proposals for competitive grants, introduces new grant opportunities

Wendy Powers, associate vice president, announced the request for proposals for ANR's 2017 competitive grants program, which can be found at http://ucanr.edu/compgrants2017.

In addition to releasing ANR's competitive grants call, she shared information on a couple of newly developed funding opportunities: “high risk/high reward grants program” and “opportunity grants program.” Below are descriptions of the three different funding mechanisms.

ANR Competitive Grants Program

The purpose of the ANR competitive grants program is to address high-priority issue areas identified by at least one of the strategic initiatives: Endemic and Invasive Pests and Diseases (EIPD), Healthy Families and Communities (HFC), Sustainable Food Systems (SFS), Sustainable Natural Ecosystems (SNE), and Water Quality, Quantity and Security (Water).

ANR Competitive Grants Program 2017 Cycle:

  • Application submission cycle
    • Letter of Intent (LOI) due March 20
    • LOI decisions April 26
    • Full proposals due June 19
  • Technical peer review: mid-June to early September 2017
  • Strategic Initiative review and recommendations: end of September 2017
  • Program Council review and recommendations: October/November 2017
  • Announcement of funded grants: November/December 2017

Through this program, ANR will continue to invest in short-term, high-impact research, education and outreach projects that address high-priority issues that are consistent with the Strategic Vision, encourage collaboration among academics from diverse disciplines and across initiatives, strengthen the research-extension network and demonstrate relevance and likelihood of impact on significant agricultural, economic, environmental and social issues in California and beyond.

For questions about ANR's competitive grants program, please contact Melanie Caruso at mmcaruso@ucanr.edu.

High Risk/High Reward Grants Program

Given the complexity of societal problems, high risk research is necessary to achieve gains for real progress in addressing present and emerging challenges. This program will provide funds to initiate and complete research and proof-of-concept efforts that serve as the basis for larger funding opportunities. These projects must be of a high risk/high reward nature that are best conducted in a controlled, research setting and, if successful, lend themselves to subsequent larger funding opportunities and/or intellectual property development.

Proposed projects must be within the scope of the ANR Strategic Vision. All ANR academics with PI status are eligible to apply. Proposals will be accepted using the same timeline as outlined for the traditional competitive grants program, but reviewed separately due to the nature of the proposal.

High risk/high reward grants will be limited to no more than $100,000 per project. Proposal format and duration is available at http://ucanr.edu/highrisk2017.

For questions about the High Risk/High Reward grants program, please contact Melanie Caruso at mmcaruso@ucanr.edu.

ANR Opportunity Grants Program

This opportunity grants program will provide small amounts of resources to initiate and complete critical short-term research, outreach or training efforts. These projects must be time-sensitive in nature and take advantage of a unique opportunity where a small pilot project to collect initial data or an immediate, crucial outreach effort must take place in a timely manner to address an issue of importance.

Proposed projects must be within the scope of the ANR Strategic Vision. All ANR academics with PI status are eligible to apply. Proposals will be accepted at any time, as the opportunities arise. Proposals will be submitted to the Associate Vice President and reviewed by the ANR Strategic Initiative Leaders and two ANR Vice Provosts.

“Because we recognize that these are time-sensitive projects, the review process will take no more than one month,” Powers said.

Proposals will be no more than three pages in length and must include a justification indicating why it is critical that this project be addressed in a short timeframe, description of the project (study design, educational framework/audience, training program, etc.) and detailed budget. Opportunity grants will be limited to no more than $10,000 per project. All projects, including the final report, must be completed within 12 months of initiation. Furthermore, no extensions will be allowed. All projects will require a final report with stated outcomes/impacts or anticipated outcomes/impacts.

ANR will provide a limited pool of funds for this grants program on an annual basis. The exact amount will be determined and announced annually based upon resource availability. The pool of funding will be managed to ensure that some resources are available year-round for timely projects.

For questions about opportunity grants, please contact AVP Wendy Powers at wendy.powers@ucop.edu.

Posted on Wednesday, January 25, 2017 at 1:53 PM

ANR embarks on development of action plans for five-year Strategic Plan

Dear Colleagues,

In August 2016, President Napolitano requested a five-year strategic plan for UC ANR by December 2016. To meet that ambitious deadline, the Senior Leadership Team worked closely with the strategic planning resources at UCOP and UC ANR to guide us through a rigorous process. We enlisted the assistance of representatives of programs and administrative units and drew upon strategic plans that already existed within the statewide programs, strategic initiatives, research and extension centers and budget plans. We also consulted UC ANR advisory groups and committees. When I presented our draft plan to President Napolitano in November, she was clearly pleased with its goals and key strategies for achieving them. The final plan was submitted to the President in late December.

I am now very excited to share the strategic plan with you; it is available at http://ucanr.edu/stratplan1.10.2017. This plan will guide us in a thoughtful and timely manner as we “operationalize” our Strategic Vision 2025. As you read through the strategic plan, please think about how your work aligns with the goals in the plan. I consider this to be a living document that we will modify, add to, and improve upon over time, so your feedback is not only welcome, it's vital.

The five-year plan calls for an estimated $54 million in one-time new costs, including approximately $40 million for capital investments in UC ANR facilities and system infrastructure. To fund the one-time costs, we will finance debt, expand our fundraising capacity and deploy some of our reserves. Ongoing annual costs for the five-year plan are estimated at $6.5 million and will be funded from projected revenue increases of $12 million, which will leave us an estimated annual net operating increase of $5.5 million.

Strategic Plan cover slide
The plan defines 15 goals to enhance UC ANR's research and extension mission, support employees and volunteers, address financial stability and administrative excellence, and increase awareness of UC ANR's value. As you can see on page 30 of the attached plan, each goal has been assigned an “owner,” who will be responsible for overseeing our progress toward its attainment. Our next step is to develop specific action plans with point people, metrics and target dates to reach our goals.

To move the strategic plan from paper to action, I have invited 22 people representing campuses, counties, research and extension centers, administrative units and more to meet at the end of this month. At the two-day meeting, we will begin developing action plans to achieve the 15 goals in the strategic plan. We will also explore how best to engage all UC ANR members in this process because everyone's contribution is critical to the UC ANR mission.

As we map out the paths to our goals, we will be soliciting feedback and engaging different people within UC ANR and external stakeholders. We will keep you apprised of our progress via ANR Update, social media, our website and other reporting. In addition to those regular communications venues, Wendy Powers, associate vice president, will provide informal updates through a new blog she recently launched at http://ucanr.edu/ANRAdventures.

You can offer feedback and collaboration via our many workgroups, advisory committees and public forums, or by sending a comment here.

By identifying and taking specific steps that lead to our goals, we will successfully achieve our Strategic Vision. If you have comments or suggestions for this process, I would love to hear from you. Please submit them to me using this link http://ucanr.edu/5yearplancomments.

Best regards,

Glenda Humiston
Vice President

Posted on Tuesday, January 24, 2017 at 3:00 PM

Strategic plan takes center stage

VP Glenda Humiston presented the ANR strategic plan during a town hall on Jan. 18.

Editor's note: This is an excerpt from AVP Wendy Power's new blog “ANR Adventures.” For news about the recruitment process for the Vice Provost – Statewide Programs and Strategic Initiatives and Vice Provost – Cooperative Extension positions, read her blog at //ucanr.edu/blogs/Adventures.

Wednesday (Jan. 18) was the Town Hall meeting to provide an overview of the UC ANR strategic plan and answer any questions. At one point, 177 participants joined the conversation via Zoom and approximately 50 of us were in the UC ANR building in Davis.

VP Glenda Humiston provided overviews of the goal of the strategic plan, the process used to gather input and the resulting goals in the plan. The remaining 45 minutes or so of the hour-long meeting was focused on questions.

Several questions were related to fundraising (plans and strategies to raise funds, intended uses of the funds). Other questions were around communicating progress on reaching the goals set forth in the plan. This is a great question and one that one of the strategic initiative leaders got me thinking about late last week. Somehow we want to be able to share the division's progress on attaining the goals without getting bogged down with details about where we are in the process. Any suggestions? If you have some, I'd love to hear them! One of the Zoom participants suggested a graphic or visual representation – maybe something like the thermometers that organizations use to show status of fundraising targets? Give this some thought and I will give it some more thought, too.

One of the questions was about the program prioritization process (Goal #5). Like pretty much all of the goals, we don't know what the result of this will look like and haven't formulated a plan to go about gathering information and making any decisions needed to reach this goal. This will be a portion of the agenda for a two-day retreat to take place at the end of the month. As the “goal owner” for Goal #5, I have to admit that I was perfectly comfortable early on in the strategic plan development process to leave this as a strategy under another goal. But I understand and “buy in” now to the idea that this is so important to who we are and the value we bring to California that it makes sense to have this as a stand-alone goal. As I said at the town hall, it is a good business practice to review what you do and how you do it. But this is no easy task for such a large organization with so many different programmatic efforts, all of which make a difference in someone's life. And key questions to think about as we undertake the process are what, if any, programming is needed to realize the 2025 Vision and how do those needs align with current efforts? Still a huge task and, as a result, a few of us have met with someone who I think can help all of us work toward answers.

Following development of a draft plan at the retreat, I intend to share the plan with strategic initiative leaders, statewide program and institute directors and county directors, then finalize a process and approach for having these big conversations so that they are inclusive, not overly time-consuming and lead to information that furthers us in our goals. No doubt success will take time and will benefit from the collective brainpower of everyone at UC ANR. I suspect it's one of those things that you get out of it, what you put into it.

 

Posted on Tuesday, January 24, 2017 at 2:31 PM
  • Author: Wendy Powers
 
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