February 2, 2015
Update on Global Food Systems
One year ago we introduced the concept of a Global Food Systems (GFS) initiative to the Kansas Board of Regents. The Regents encouraged us to move ahead and develop a highly aspirational plan. Much has happened in the past 12 months, including discussion of the GFS initiative within the framework of 2025 strategic plans.
In January the university hosted the inaugural Global Food Systems lecture, sponsored in honor of Henry C. Gardiner, who recently passed away. The Gardiner family’s Ashland-based cattle business was featured last month in a front-page article in the Wall Street Journal citing the family's innovative approach and influence on the beef cattle industry. This type of event, and others being planned for the near future, raises the leadership profile of our university. We want to thank all those who worked hard to bring this very successful lecture to our Manhattan campus.
Going forward into fiscal year 2016, President Kirk Schulz charged a steering committee with leading the initiative and coordinating activities on campus. Chaired by Karen Burg, vice president for research, the committee comprises April Mason, provost and senior vice president; Jeff Morris, vice president for communications and marketing; and Sue Peterson, assistant to the president and director of governmental relations. This committee is meeting regularly and welcomes your input. Please send your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To support the GFS initiative, we have been transitioning the $5 million annual block grant from the Kansas Department of Commerce. This grant was originally targeted only for animal health initiatives. The renamed Global Food Systems grant has been included in the governor’s budget recommendation for fiscal years 2016 and 2017. We won’t know about these funds with certainty until a budget is approved by the Kansas Legislature and signed by the governor, but we remain optimistic.
It is important to note that these funds are delivered through the Kansas Department of Commerce with specific requirements for job creation and economic development. The chart at the end of this update shows the disposition of these funds for FY 2014, and a detailed annual report submitted to the Kansas Department of Commerce can be viewed here.
The steering committee has been working on the details for innovation seed grants and a request for proposals will be announced in K-State Today and posted on the GFS and Office of Research and Sponsored Programs websites. Funds totaling $500,000 have been allocated for this initiative from the FY 2015 budget.
As the GFS initiative moves from planning to implementation, you can expect more frequent communications and opportunities for input. This initiative has long-term historical implications for the state of Kansas and our university; we have the resources and energy to create activities of high global impact. Thank you for contributing to the research, scholarly and creative activities, and discovery (RSCAD) momentum.
Vice president for research, steering committee chair
April C. Mason
Provost and senior vice president
Vice president for communications and marketing
Assistant to the president and director of governmental relations