BIFAD presentation of Scientific Excellence Award to Thom Jayne

Thom Jayne and Seerjana Maharjan received the 2021 award for Scientific Excellence from the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development

Washingon D.C. the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD), an advisory committee to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) bestowed the 2021 Senior Research Award for Scientific Excellence on MSU Foundation Professor emeritus, Thom Jayne for his research efforts on food systems transformation in Africa carried out with the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Security Policy Research, Capacity, and Influence (PRCI) and other Feed the Future Innovation Labs.

Food Security Group interim Co-Director Mywish Maredia had this to say, “Thom is a shining beacon of development research we do in FSG/AFRE. His impactful contributions to the former FTF Innovation Lab for Food Security Lab and the current FTF Innovation Lab for Policy Research, Capacity, and Influence (PRCI) exemplify what this BIFAD Excellence Award was designed to recognize. We are proud of his achievements and this recognition he has received.”

The BIFAD award for Scientific Excellence is bestowed on those who contribute to the interrelated and interdependent objectives of the U.S. Government’s Global Food Security Strategy: inclusive and sustainable agriculture-led economic growth, strengthened resilience among people and systems, and a well-nourished population. Thom Jayne was nominated for the award by Soji Adelaja, John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor in Land Policy. “This special award recognizes those rare individuals whose research efforts have been pivotal in achieving the strategic objectives of the U.S. Government’s Global Food Security Strategy. As members of last year’s AFRE awards committee, Felicia Wu and I recognized that Thom exemplifies what this BIFAD excellence award was designed to recognize. On behalf of AFRE, we therefore led Thom’s nomination,” said Soji.

He shares, “Thom is a frontiersman, pacesetter, visionary and creative thinker in development policy research. He has an uncanny ability to identify, quantify, and analyze emerging new issues in ways that redefine the research agenda and shape decisive outcomes. A long-term icon of development work at MSU, Thom is held in high esteem in the academic and policy communities in the US, Africa, and indeed worldwide and the impact of his work is unparalleled. He is an ideal 21st century land grant economist.“

As part of the presentation Thom gave a presentation on economic and policy research on food systems transformation in Africa, and the Student Research Award recipient, Dr. Seerjana Maharjan presented her doctoral student research on the ecology and biological control of invasive weed species in central Nepal carried out with the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Integrated Pest Management.

“While Thom Jayne has earned many awards in his career, this BIFAD research award is a particularly fitting because it recognizes his role as a thought leader in African agricultural development,” said Scott Swinton, Chairperson of the Department of Agricultural Food and Resource Economics. “Thom has had a knack for identifying trends in African land use and input markets.  He has collaborated closely with African institutions in designing research that informs public policy.  The work has led not only to research that advances African food security, but also to the development of policy research capability that can sustain that food security.”

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