Grants Awarded and Mini-Symposia Selected for 2016


In 2013, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences established the Grand Challenges, a faculty-driven, interdisciplinary initiative to tackle some of the world’s biggest problems.  Three years later, the Grand Challenges continue to be a vital segment of the College’s land-grant mission. Now, more than ever, the research conducted across our College and agencies is needed to address increasing global problems.

Progress on our College’s Grand Challenges is ongoing and you can get updated on all of our activities and resources at We are now ready to announce our next set of funded teams, as well as, our next set of 2016 mini-symposia themes. Last year, the College had the opportunity to fund six faculty teams. Their active research projects are a testament to the important work our faculty are conducting to tackle these challenges.

This year, the College is pleased to announce that we will continue this progress by awarding two new integrative faculty teams with Grand Challenge Grants. These teams were selected from last year’s mini-symposia and each will receive up to $75,000 per year for two years. The teams receiving funding are:

  • Quantifying Soil Capital Value and Soil Connections to Society: Toward Achieving Global Soil Security; Team Leader: Dr. Christine, 979-845-3603
  • Reducing Food Losses in the Developing World; Team Leader: Dr. Elsa Murano,, 979-862-4551

As you know, each of our grand challenges are multidisciplinary and interconnected across departments. With that said, if you are interested in joining one of the above integrative faculty teams, I encourage you to contact the team leader.

I am also excited to announce that we have selected four NEW big idea mini-symposia topics. As we have done in the past, the spring 2016 mini-symposia will encourage networking among Texas A&M AgriLife faculty and increase awareness of related faculty research. Be on the lookout for the release of the mini-symposia dates later this spring.

Topics will include:

  • Climate change, natural resources, and biodiversity monitoring and adaption; Leader: Dr. Tom Lacher,, 979-845-5777
  • Coffee Hub: Coffee research as a tool to improve the economy of millions of farmers; Leader: Dr. Leo Lombardic,, 979-458-8079
  • Increasing global water supplies through water reuse and desalination by overcoming technical barriers and public perception; Leader: Dr. Clyde Munster,, 979-847-8793
  • Nexus between plant vector biology and animal/human vector biology; Leaders: Dr. Cecilia Tamborindeguy,, 832-779-8070, and Dr. David Ragsdale,, 979-845-2510

Thank you to each of our faculty members that helped make 2015 a success for our Grand Challenges efforts.

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