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Food & Agriculture

Dating back to its founding, Michigan State University's roots are grounded in strong expertise in food and agricultural sciences. MSU faculty is composed of the foremost experts in crop and soil sciences, agricultural economics, animal science, and more, with decades of experience in research, teaching, and capacity building.

This list represents a portion of MSU's work in this thematic area. Please contact Global IDEAS for potential opportunities to partner with MSU and further information on MSU expertise in international food and agriculture.

Global Center for Food Systems Innovation

The MSU-hosted Global Center for Food Systems Innovation (GCFSI) is one of eight USAID development labs nationwide, established for the purpose of creating, supporting, and strengthening food systems innovation to help aid in global food security. GCFSI works with partner institutions in both developed and developing countries to conduct collaborative research and build institutional research capacity. Among these institutions is Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources in Malawi, where GCFSI is working with key leadership to establish an Innovation Hub, which will help support food system innovation and bolster food security as well as develop the current and next generation of entrepreneurial scientists in Malawi and the region.

Food Security Group

MSU is home to the Food Security Group, which has achieved international recognition and has attracted $112 million in grants since 1983, roughly two-thirds from USAID, through three successive 10-year cooperative agreements focused on food security. The strategic goal of these cooperative agreements has been to integrate research findings into national, regional, and international policy dialogue and program design to promote rapid and sustainable agricultural growth as a means to reduce hunger and poverty. Strategies for achieving food security are analyzed within a structural transformation context that takes into account the role of trade, nonfarm income generation, and the implications of agricultural development for poverty alleviation and sustainable natural resource use.

Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Security Policy

The USAID Food Security Policy Innovation Lab is anchored by MSU’s Food Security Group (FSG), which includes a group of researchers that has been dedicated to carrying out integrated programs of applied research, capacity building, and policy dialogue focused on food security since the early 1980s. FSG works closely with foreign colleagues to identify real-world problems related to food security and conduct empirical research based on those findings along with its foreign institutional partners. The Innovation Lab helps USAID-supported countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America to fight hunger, reduce poverty and improve nutritional outcomes through better food policy.

Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Grain Legumes

MSU has been the home of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Grain Legumes since 2013 (2013-2017), and its predecessors, the Bean/Cowpea Collaborative Research Support Program (CRSP) (2000-2007), and the Dry Grain Pulses CRSP (2007-2012). The Lab is dedicated to the strengthening of agriculture research institutional capacity in USAID priority countries by facilitating and managing multidisciplinary research, technology transfers, and capacity building at an individual and institutional level. The Lab and its predecessors have actively supported multidisciplinary research, institutional capacity building, and outreach activities related to common bean, cowpea, and other dry grain pulses in more than 25 countries throughout Africa and Latin America.

World Technology Access Program

MSU’s World Technology Access Program (WorldTAP) offers short- and long-term training programs and advisory and consulting services, aimed to build capacity and facilitate technology transfer in diverse areas of agricultural research and development. WorldTAP draws on expertise from both on and off-campus to offer high quality training and capacity building in food safety, environmental biosafety, packaging and value addition, and integrated pest management, among others. Since 2005, WorldTAP has hosted 41 Fellows from the Borlaug International Agricultural Science and Technology Fellows Program, administered by the US Department of Agriculture. The Borlaug Fellows, hailing from 17 different developing countries, have received training at MSU in the areas of food security and sustainable agricultural productivity.

Food Safety Knowledge Network

MSU also has strengths in Food Safety, hosting the Food Safety Knowledge Network (FSKN). The FSKN began as a collaboration between Michigan State University and the Global Food Safety Initiative of the Paris-based Consumer Goods Forum and now includes several knowledge development and funding partners.  The overall objectives of FSKN platform are to facilitate the production of safer food on a global basis through the transfer of knowledge throughout the global supply chain and facilitating education and career development for food safety professionals. FSKN has worked with food professionals from around the world in a multitude of languages in order to build capacity for the global food safety community.

Borlaug Higher Education for Agricultural Research and Development Program

Michigan State University is the current management entity for the Borlaug Higher Education for Agricultural Research and Development (BHEARD) Program, funded by USAID, in partnership with the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT). The BHEARD Program supports the advanced training of agricultural researchers from Feed the Future countries and linkages between the scientific and higher education communities in the countries and the United States. Facilitated by the BHEARD management team at MSU, BHEARD Scholars have been able to attend institutions across the United States, including many who have studied at MSU.

Innovative Agricultural Research Initiative

Currently, MSU, along with the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) and five other US institutions, led by Ohio State University, is implementing the Innovative Agricultural Research Initiative (iAGRI) in Tanzania. This USAID-funded project works closely with local institutions to provide advanced degree training to Tanzanian graduate students, support collaborative agricultural research among Tanzanian and US institutions, and strengthen the capacity for Tanzanian institutions to implement effective agricultural instruction and research.

Anaerobic Digestion Research and Education Center

MSU is home to the Anaerobic Digestion Research and Education Center (ADREC). The mission of the ADREC is to provide platform for multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional, and multi-national collaborations that develop sustainable waste-to-resource solutions to address current and future waste utilization challenges. The research and development activities in the center are focusing on developing the technologies that are able to economically address waste utilization needs of our global community. The specific objectives are to: 1) develop novel waste-to-resource technologies capable to convert organic wastes into value-added products, 2) fulfill commercialization and technology transfer of new waste-to-resource concepts, and 3) educate the next generation of engineers, scientists and policymakers on waste utilization design and practice.