Six years ago, the United States Department of Agriculture, or USDA, launched the Norman E. Borlaug International Agricultural Science and Technology Fellowship Program. USDA is accepting applications for the 2011 program until January 31st.
The Fellowship was created in honor of Norman Borlaug, an agronomist who is universally hailed as the father of the Green Revolution. While working in Mexico in the 1960s, Borlaug developed semi-dwarf, high-yield, disease-resistant wheat varieties and combined them with modern agricultural production techniques, more than tripling production. Norman Borlaug began to introduce his technique wherever famine threatened, from Mexico to Asia. He is credited with saving as many as one billion people from death by starvation. His work earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970.
The Green Revolution was a breakthrough that contributed to food security and the fight against hunger, particularly in Asia and Mexico. With new technologies, the science of plant breeding is changing rapidly. The genetic improvement of food crops needs to continue at a pace sufficient to meet the needs of the 8.3 billion people projected for 2025. Until his death in September 2009, Norman Borlaug believed that both conventional breeding and biotechnology methodologies would be needed.
It is in the spirit of Norman Borlaug's life's work that the U.S. Department of Agriculture offers qualified applicants from all over the world six to twelve week fellowships. The idea is to share knowledge with mid-level scientists, agronomists, agricultural economists and policy makers in developing countries, and to expose them to new perspectives and new technologies.
Training venues include U.S. universities, U.S. government agency research facilities, not-for-profit institutions, and international agricultural research centers. Upon their return home, participants will be able to apply this knowledge in their own research programs and teaching, as well as share their experiences with colleagues at their own institutions and throughout their home countries.
For more information, please visit the USDA website at http://www.fas.usda.gov/icd/borlaug/Borlaug.asp
Norman Borlaug's efforts averted many a famine. By sharing our experience and expertise, we hope to help the next generation of agricultural specialists continue his work.