Sustainable Agriculture

NSF Awards $25M Grant to Arizona University to Support Sustainable Agriculture

Follow Us:

Key Highlights:

  • Researchers are building digital tools that will be useful in communicating with plants and developing new crops
  • The Internet of Living Things is the key focus area of the research that will harness existing technology and develop new methods of sensing plant’s needs on a larger biological scale
  • The research will help understand the intricacies of plant systems

Center for Research on Programmable Plant Systems

The National Science Foundation has recently awarded a $25 million grant to develop new technologies and methods to support sustainable agriculture and imperiled ecosystems. The research will be conducted by researchers from the University of Arizona, Cornell University, the Boyce Thompson Institute, and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in the newly established ‘Center for Research on Programmable Plant Systems’. 

CROPPS will provide the information required by the researchers to develop tools to support plant systems. They will gather information by developing new methods to observe, record, and control plant responses to their environment promoting sustainable agriculture. These observations will be shared to the researchers via networked, online databases creating an ‘Internet of Living Things’. Through this grant, UArizona will receive $3.5 million over the next five years to leverage expertise in molecular plant biology, data analytics, and remote sensing technology.

Internet of Living Things

Since the 1950s, remote sensing technologies have been used for agricultural purposes. Advanced technologies like drones, sensor probes, and advanced imaging will enable farmers to identify plots in their fields that require more nutrients and water and even detect pathogens threatening crops. 

The research for sustainable agriculture will allow the development of new methods for sensing plants’ needs on a larger biological scale. It has the potential to solve critical challenges making agriculture more sustainable and addressing the concerns of farmers across the world. The computational infrastructure and complex analysis expertise provided by CyVerse–a UArizona-led open science workspace for collaborative data-driven discovery–will be used by the researchers to manage and translate the massive amounts of sensor data produced.

Technology-driven Sustainable Agriculture

Using the information gathered, researchers will be able to better understand the interaction of plants with their environment and support sustainable agriculture. Also, it will be useful in developing new techniques for breeding crops to meet the challenges of a changing global climate. Duke Pauli, an assistant professor in the School of Plant Sciences said, “For the first time, we will be able to communicate with plants, enabling us to explore how they respond to dynamic environments in which they did not evolve and potentially breed new plants for our changing environment”. Researchers are focusing on developing systems through which they can easily understand the growth patterns and requirements of every plant. 

Also Read: Powerful Auroras of Jupiter Overheat its Upper Atmosphere



Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get updates and learn from the best

Scroll to Top

Hire Us To Spread Your Content

Fill this form and we will call you.