The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, Missouri, has announced a $70 million grant from the Danforth Foundation, the last major grant the foundation will award before closing its doors later this year.
In addition to providing endowment support, the grant will help the center launch the first phase of a planned three-part expansion of its scientific staff, facilities, and organizational capacity, starting with the hiring of five principal investigators, development of biometrics and biocomputing abilities, and additional training opportunities for scientists and students. With the expansion, the center will be better equipped to develop renewable sources of energy and other sustainable products that preserve and enhance the environment and help solidify the St. Louis area's position as an international hub for plant science research and commercial development.
"The grant will enable us to add critical expertise and new technologies to the Danforth Center, and then to train scientists how to solve some of the longstanding problems that limit agricultural productivity," said Dr. James C. Carrington, incoming president of the Danforth Center. "We will focus on addressing some of the major unanswered problems in plant science, such as how genes interact with changing environments to control crop yield, growth, and resistance to stress. The grant will also accelerate the translation of basic discoveries into commercial applications, which the St. Louis region is particularly well-suited to accomplish."