Change and Opportunity
M. E. Camire. University of Maine, ME, U.S.A. Cereal Foods World 54(5):203.
During the past year we have talked extensively about research. Research, like all aspects of the economy, has languished during the recession. As a university faculty member, I am hardly qualified to address corporate research and development funding, so I will discuss academic and government research funding instead. R&D is the cornerstone of economic development. In the United States, cereal research is largely conducted at land-grant universities. These institutions are funded in part by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES). USDA provides funding for faculty, staff and graduate salaries, and research supplies for projects that are reviewed periodically by peer scientists. State governments provide additional support to land-grant universities as base operating funds. The global recession has led to drastic cuts to state university funding. Unlike many other segments of the economy, agriculture received little attention for economic stimulus funding. What implications do these developments have for the cereal industry? Cutbacks at universities may lead to fewer opportunities for students, resulting in a smaller pool of qualified candidates for industry, government, and academia. As more companies cut back on research departments, some university faculty conduct more contract research on behalf of industry sponsors. This type of arrangement has served most parties well. Federal funding for research have been fairly level over the past few years, with USDA funding fewer projects with higher budgets in an attempt to match awards made by other federal agencies, such as the National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institutes of Health (NIH). Additionally, interdisciplinary projects with multiple investigators at multiple institutions receive priority in funding. I strongly believe that AACC Intl. must support and promote cereal science research.