Education and collaboration go hand in hand. We at Monsanto depend on a wide range of universities, organizations and other partners as we work together to help feed a growing population in a more sustainable manner. And we know the importance of fostering the next generation of farmers, researchers and scientists as well.
Our support of education and collaborative partners takes many forms. We recently announced two initiatives that support education in very different ways. We’re excited about the potential of both of these programs to advance critical research and to help hone the skills of tomorrow’s leaders in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics).
This week, we announced we will continue working with the National 4-H Council on the 4-H Ag Innovators Experience. This unique hands-on program connects young people with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and agriculture using a fun and engaging activity. In 2015, the program will focus on agricultural issues related to environmental stewardship, natural resource management and conservation. The National 4-H Council’s land grant university partners are currently competing to develop the 2015 activity, which will be announced in November.
The 4-H Ag Innovators Experience selects teen leaders to engage in in-depth training for their peers and younger kids, through 4-H clubs, after-school programs and summer camps. After completing the activity, participants create a video to demonstrate the potential applications their idea has in their community.
Separately, Monsanto recently announced the donation of a library of tissues and plant cells from 3,500 plant species and the equipment needed to study them to the University of Massachusetts. The donation, valued at more than $1 million, will support UMass’ upcoming plant innovation center, where undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate researchers will assist faculty members in studying plant biology. The goal of the research is to understand how plants work, how and why a plant does what it does, and to look for new products or potential uses – like for fragrances, therapeutics, or healthcare. We feel this donation will enhance plant research and foster broader collaboration.
Whether it’s through sponsorship, expertise or materials, we feel it’s important to help inspire young people to enter into leadership, agriculture and STEM fields. Working with the National 4-H Council allows us to support far more young people than we could on our own. At the same time, the donation of intellectual property to UMass will help provide researchers with the tools they need to discover solutions and innovations that can benefit everyone.
Different paths; both advance the same important cause.