As USDA’s Chief Scientist I oversee a team of world class scientists, economists, statisticians, and support staff working to solve some of the biggest challenges facing us all – a changing climate, uncertain energy sources, rising childhood obesity rates, food insecurity around the globe – and making sure our solutions are safe and sustainable.
In 2010, one of my first initiatives as Chief Scientist was to ask this group of food, agricultural, and natural resource science professionals to develop an Action Plan for USDA Science. The Action Plan provides an in depth analysis of these challenges and identifies the roles of USDA’s science agencies in addressing them.
A key part of making the goals of our Action Plan a reality is coordinating our efforts across not only USDA’s scientific agencies, but with our land grant university partners, other federal agencies, and other partners around the country and world. At USDA, the responsibility of strategically coordinating these important issues rests with the Senior Advisors in my office, the Office of the Chief Scientist, in close consultation with the REE agency administrators.
Building on the Action Plan, these Senior Advisors have worked with teams across USDA to dig deeper into these global challenges and articulate for USDA Science: 1) the roles we play in addressing each challenge; 2) the key strategies to focus on in fulfilling those roles; 3) what we are currently doing; 4) what we plan to do; and 5) the outcomes that we anticipate coming from this work.
The result of that effort is the creation of six peer-reviewed white papers, which were released on the Office of the Chief Scientist website today. These papers provide detailed descriptions of our work in these areas, and we hope they will serve as resources for those interested in these important issues. Over the next few weeks, we will highlight each of these papers individually on this blog, so please be sure to check back each Science Tuesday, and feel free to contact us with any feedback.