The National Science Foundation has announced a $48 million partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support projects working to develop innovative approaches and technologies to boost agricultural productivity in developing countries.
Gates and NSF will each provide $24 million over five years to the BREAD (Basic Research to Enable Agricultural Development) awards program to fund projects that address drought, pests, disease, and other serious problems facing small farmers in developing countries who rely on their crops for food and income. The NSF funds will be used to support research carried out in U.S. academic institutions, while funding from the Gates Foundation will support international partners via sub-awards from U.S. grantees. In consultation with the foundation, NSF will manage the program using its peer-review process.
BREAD is part of the Gates Foundation's agricultural development initiative, which is working with a wide range of partners in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia to provide millions of small farmers in the developing world with tools and opportunities to boost crop yields, increase their incomes, and build better lives for themselves and their families.
"This partnership with NSF is an exciting opportunity to tap into the most innovative, transformative ideas the global scientific community can offer," said Rob Horsch, deputy director of the agricultural development initiative. "We believe the time is right to increase our investments in scientific research with the potential to create new pathways out of poverty for the millions of smallholder farmers in the developing world who support their families on less than $1 a day."