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K-State Today

April 24, 2014

Plant pathology's Karen Garrett to discuss impact network analysis in presentation today

By Stephanie Alvord-Albanese

Karen Garrett, professor of plant pathology, will present "Impact network analysis: A framework for optimizing research impact to support food security" at 3:45 p.m. today in 4031 Throckmorton Hall.

As researchers and funders consider how to invest their time and resources, they often lack a mechanistic model for how their research products will influence food security. For example:

1. How do patterns of sharing of genetic resources among crop breeders influence the likelihood that effective resistance genes are widely deployed?

2. How does training resource-poor farmers in on-farm disease management influence regional productivity?

3. If climate change results in increased risk for an invasive pathogen, how can adaptation strategies compensate for that increase?

Impact network analysis, or INA, is a new systems analysis of the impact of information and other types of technologies or interventions on biological systems, integrating how impact occurs through linked networks of communication, decision-making and biophysical processes. Impact network analysis can be used to evaluate and optimize impact on important outcomes such as the spread of epidemics and invasive species, agricultural productivity, and ecosystem services more broadly. It is a method for defining and quantifying system-level traits such as sustainability, resilience and transformability, and for identifying key system components where small investments can have large payoffs through interventions from research, extension and policies.

This seminar will address application of impact network analysis to the three questions above and more generally.