Catalysts for Innovation: A Few Success Stories

Improving Nutrition, Productivity and Adaptability to African Crops to Improve Childhood Malnutrition

Allen Van Deynze, PhD, is technical lead for the AOCC program and Director of Research for the Seed Bioltechnology Center at UC Davis. He specializes in applying genomic technologies to plant breeding.

Allen Van Deynze is Director of Research for the Seed Biotechnology Center and Associate Director of the Plant Breeding Center at UC Davis. His recent project, “The African Orphans Crops Consortium,” is a 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. The 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. Furthermore, the consortium recently received a prize of $100k from Illumina for its impact on food security.

Learn more about the African Orphan Crops Consortium and its partners here.

Improving Wildlife Health in Nepal

Dr. Gaydos getting to know some of the wildlife in Nepal.

Dr. Gaydos getting to know some of the wildlife in Nepal.

Jonna Mazet and Joseph Gaydos of the One Health Institute and Dave Bunn of the Karen C. Drayer Wildlife Health Center (WHC) developed a long-term sustainable international collaborative research 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. View more information here.

Re-envisioning Exhibition Design

Tim McNeil "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."

Tim McNeil is the director of the UC Davis Design Museum, and an associate professor of Design at the University of California Davis, where he is the primary instructor for courses on exhibition design and environmental graphic design. His 2012-2013 Seed Grant proposal created the first in a series of international symposiums on transforming Exhibition Design, bringing together thinkers, strategists and practitioners from the USA, Asia and Europe to address and inform this evolving design discipline, with a focus on designing experiences for audience participation. View more information here.


Mitra Bahari: Restoring Marine Habitats and Biodiversity to Build Sustainable Livelihoods in Indonesia

Susan Williams Seed Grant Spotlight "The grant I received from your office allowed this success. I return to work in Indonesia in September."

Susan Williams is a professor of Evolution and Ecology at the Bodega Marine lab. Mitra Bahari is a partnership for the sustainable development of marine resources on small islands off Sulawesi, Indonesia. Dr. Williams collaborated with Universitas Hasannudin's marine 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 science and technology ('STEM') education. View more information here.

Practicing Agricultural Community Entrepreneurship

Cary Trexler

"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 as well as expand the reach of the newly established UC Davis World Food Center in significant ways."

Cary Trexler is an associate professor at the UC Davis School of Education and an expert on agriculture education. He has also been the recipient of many seed grants over the past 10 years. His most recent proposal is a graduate level internship program that promotes the four pillars of development: Financial Inclusion, Food Sovereignty, Environmental Justice and Social Capital. It will provide students of agriculture and environmental science the opportunity to translate their classroom-based knowledge into competency-based skills in the field. It will offer 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. View more information here.

Can Forests Help Reduce Poverty? Building a New International Research Program to Understand the Forest-Poverty Link in Rural Mexico

Edward Taylor

"The seed grant not only provided critical funding but also leverage to secure new funds, by demonstrating a UC Davis commitment to this project."

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 University of California Davis. His 2007-2008 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 create a partnership for joint research on forest conservation and rural poverty in Mexico.