Catalysts for Innovation
Improving Nutrition, Productivity and Adaptability of African Crops to Improve Childhood Malnutrition
Allen Van Deynze, director of Research for the Seed Biotechnology Center and associate director of the Plant Breeding Center at UC Davis, recently took on his Affairs Seed Grant project, “The African Orphans Crops Consortium,” in response to the high prevalence of child malnutrition and stunted growth in Africa as a result of poor nutrient availability in many of their important food crops.
Van Deynze's project provides training through the African Plant Breeding Academy for African professors in the latest experimental designs and plant breeding to improve nutrient bioavailability. The academy graduated its first class of plant breeders in Nairobi, Kenya in December 2014. In January 2015, the African Orphans Crops Consortium was featured at the MARS Symposium at the Mondavi Center, highlighting the Consortium’s contribution to global food and health challenges. The Consortium also recently received $100,000 from Illumina for its impact on food security.
Improving Wildlife Health in Nepal
Jonna Mazet and Joseph Gaydos of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine's One Health Institute and Dave Bunn of the Karen C. Drayer Wildlife Health Center (WHC) developed a long-term, sustainable international research collaboration and education program to improve wildlife in Nepal.
The program was designed in response to a growing need to improve Nepal’s capacity to address local wildlife health issues. As an extension of this program, the Central Zoo of Nepal recently received the valuable gift of reference textbooks, thanks to the efforts of the Wildlife Health Center, two students from the class of 2016, and generous donors. Read more.
Re-Envisioning Exhibition Design
Tim McNeil, director of the UC Davis Design Museum and associate professor of Design, is the primary instructor for courses on exhibition design and environmental graphic design. His 2012-13 Global Affairs Seed Grant proposal created the first in a series of international symposiums on transforming Exhibition Design, bringing together thinkers, strategists and practitioners from the U.S., Asia, and Europe to address and inform this evolving design discipline, with a focus on designing experiences for audience participation.
"We were amazed by the interest—we clearly have created a much needed forum. We plan to hold the next summit in India 2015 and at UC Davis in 2016," McNeil said.
Restoring Marine Habitats and Biodiversity to Build Sustainable Livelihoods
Susan Williams, professor of Evolution and Ecology at the Bodega Marine Lab at UC Davis, saw success with her Seed Grant project in Indonesia. Mitra Bahari is a partnership for the sustainable development of marine resources on small islands off Sulawesi, Indonesia.
Williams collaborated with Universitas Hasannudin's faculty and the Mars Symbioscience Alternative Livelihoods program to: 1) restore valuable seagrass and coral reef ecosystems, 2) develop the sustainable culture of high-value ornamental species to provide alternative livelihoods to the destructive fishing and collection practices that damage seagrass and coral reefs, and 3) initiate primary school outreach that will facilitate increased conservation of these habitatis, adoption of alternative livelihoods, and STEM education. Read more (.pdf).
Practicing Agricultural Community Entrepreneurship
Cary Trexler, associate professor at UC Davis' School of Education and an expert on agriculture education, has also been the recipient of multiple Global Affairs Seed Grants over the past 10 years. His most recent proposal was a graduate level internship program that promotes the four pillars of development: Financial Inclusion, Food Sovereignty, Environmental Justice and Social Capital. It provides students of agriculture and environmental science the opportunity to translate their classroom-based knowledge into competency-based skills in the field. It also offers students training and mentorship in designing and implementing projects in NGOs, government agencies, for-profit corporations or other organizations either serving agricultural communities or environmental programs.
"This proposal will allow for the opportunity to determine the feasibility of and develop a plan for a program that will enhance the quality and relevance of graduate education on campus," Trexler said.
Building a New International Research Program to Understand the Forest-Poverty Link in Rural Mexico
Ed Taylor is the director of Rural Economics of the Americas and Pacific Rim (REAP) and a professor of Agricultural and Resource Ecnomics at the UC Davis. His 2007-08 Global Affairs Seed Grant proposal aimed to create a new institutional relationship between UC Davis and the University of Guanajuato to tap our university’s expertise in resource economics and to create a partnership for joint research on forest conservation and rural poverty in Mexico.
"The seed grant not only provided critical funding but also leverage to secure new funds, by demonstrating a UC Davis commitment to this project," Taylor said.