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K-State Today

November 17, 2020

Jan Middendorf named Innovation Lab Council chair for Feed the Future Innovation Labs

Submitted by Layne Wilson

Jan Middendorf, associate director of the Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab, or SIIL, has been elected to serve as the council chair of the Feed the Future Innovation Labs.

The United States Agency for International Development funds 21 Feed the Future Innovation Labs across the country, four of which are housed at Kansas State University. Each lab focuses on a research challenge that its host university is uniquely qualified to face, with the goal of improving global food access and production.

As associate director of the Sustainable Intensification and Innovation Lab, Middendorf conducts research and leads the lab's impact assessment and monitoring and evaluation efforts. She is also responsible for establishing and maintaining effective partnerships with other U.S. and international institutions, industry, USAID missions and developmental partners at the community, regional, national and international level.

"This appointment is an acknowledgment of Dr. Middendorf's significant professional contribution to the international development field and service to the community," said Nina Lilja, associate dean of international agricultural programs. "We are fortunate to have such a dedicated professional and a skilled facilitator as part of our innovation lab team in the College of Agriculture. Her tenure as an innovation lab council chair will no doubt further enhance our reputation as the leading land-grant university in international agricultural research."

Each year, the innovation lab directors elect a chair to interact with USAID and the public on the Feed the Future Innovation Labs' overall portfolio. The main purpose of the council is to advocate for USAID research programs by providing technical assistance, training and education programs, program planning, project design, project evaluation, educational materials and other assistance within institutional capabilities.

The council also participates in facilitating USAID's relationships with the international and domestic agricultural research community, and supports the needs of the Bureau for Resilience and Food Security related to technical and development issues, program direction and priorities.

"As Middendorf fills this role as the council chair, it will be of great value for the state of Kansas, K-State and the College of Agriculture, as state legislators and university leaders will be highlighted and play a prominent role during the Feed the Future Week, which will take place in September 2021," said Vara Prasad, university distinguished professor and director of the Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab.