The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

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Science Breakthroughs 2030 Overview

Science Breakthroughs 2030 is a project to identify the most compelling research directions in food and agriculture, in particular those empowered by the application of insights and tools from disciplines of science and engineering not typically associated with food and agricultural research. There is increasing awareness of the potential to capitalize on advances in many fields, such as chemistry, physics, genomics, and the behavioral, cognitive, and data sciences, along with tools from machine learning, remote sensing, robotics, micro-electronics, and nanomaterials to pursue novel approaches to research challenges across the food and agriculture system.


For the next 7 months, a 13-member committee appointed by the President of the National Academy of Sciences will be exploring ideas that arise from the scientific community, with the objective of producing a report describing ambitious and achievable scientific pathways to addressing major problems or creating new opportunities in food and agriculture.


It is envisioned that the outcome of the project, and even the process of the developing the report, will catalyze new research activities and partnerships, attract new scientific talent, stimulate entrepreneurial activities, increase funding opportunities, and ultimately open new paths to a better food and agricultural system.


This "Challenge" platform seeks input from the broad scientific community in identifying and discussing scientific opportunities with high potential to create knowledge breakthroughs that could improve aspects of the performance, resilience, healthfulness and sustainability of food and agriculture.


Tell us your ideas for innovative research that could elevate the science of food and agriculture. Readers are invited to submit ideas and add to, or comment on ideas submitted by others. The project also is seeking 2-3 page white papers that describe scientific opportunities in more detail. The ideas, comments, and white papers will be used, in part, as the basis of a public "Town Hall" workshop organized by the project's study committee in late summer 2017 where the ideas will be further explored. Contributors to the discussion platform may be contacted by the study committee team and asked to participate in the workshop and other discussions.


In describing your ideas, please comment on how the science and engineering approach you describe might:

  • Address a major challenge in food and agriculture
  • Create a novel opportunity for advances in food and agricultural science
  • Help overcome a technological barrier, or
  • Fill a fundamental knowledge gap that currently holds back progress in the fields of food and agriculture

We want to thank the scientific community for taking part in this discussion. Contributors of ideas to the Challenge platform will be acknowledged in the final report of the study committee which is expected to be released in Spring of 2018.