The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, a nonprofit organization that supports innovative science addressing food and agriculture challenges, has named Kansas State University assistant professor Isaya Kisekka a “New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research.”
As one of nine recipients, Kisekka will share in a $4.8 million award over five years. Matching funds from each awardee’s respective institution will reinforce the foundation’s investment of as much as $300,000 per recipient. This is the first year for the FFAR New Innovator award.
Kisekka’s award supports his work in improving water-management strategies on farms. The agricultural engineer is based at Kansas State University’s Southwest Research and Extension Center in Garden City, Kansas. He and a team of researchers are working to find the best ways to maximize the use of irrigation water on crops in western Kansas. The work has implications for any region in the world and is especially important where water supplies are limited.
Meeting and sustaining the growing global demand for food will require a scientific workforce committed to innovating the way food is grown, processed, and distributed, FFAR said in a statement announcing the awards. The New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research Award is designed to provide the early investment needed to launch new faculty members into successful scientific careers in food and agriculture. Applicants were required to demonstrate a commitment to mentoring, supporting the foundation’s interest in inspiring future generations of agricultural and food scientists.
Kisekka joins researchers from Cornell University, Purdue University, the University of California, Davis, Michigan State University, Oakland University, the University of Connecticut, South Dakota State University and North Carolina State University in receiving the award. Overall, the researchers’ work focuses on five of FFAR’s seven research target areas, including water use, nutrition and healthy food choices, plant efficiency, soil health, and sustainable farm animal productivity, resilience and health.
“Awarding our first research grants is a landmark occasion for the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, and it is a particular honor to invest in the bold ideas of nine scientists who show such extraordinary promise so early in their careers,” said Sally Rockey, executive director of the foundation.