The view ahead - winter 2021

Dean Karen Plaut

In this issue, Envision writers tell compelling stories about work in invasive species, data science, digital innovation in the agrifood business, and the connection between consumer demand analysis and plant sciences. Each story is absorbing on its own, but the subtext that unites them is one many of us take for granted — the extraordinary multidisciplinary collaboration that equips Purdue Agriculture to tackle and address global challenges.

Consider how our college’s invasive species efforts benefit from researchers across disciplines, from entomology to plant pathology to biochemistry to crop science to animal science to digital forestry. Working together, Purdue Agriculture faculty perform the basic and applied research that enables them and Purdue Extension educators to address this issue locally and worldwide, since it has the potential to harm the environment, economy and human health.

Purdue Moves and now Purdue Next Moves, the university’s major strategic initiatives, invested in the plant sciences in Purdue Agriculture because of researchers’ many accomplishments. In six years, over 100 scientists across five colleges collaborated to establish flagship programs in plant phenomics, digital agriculture and big data. They generated over $200 million in gifts and grants. Attend a plant sciences presentation or networking event and you’ll see engineers, plant pathologists, biochemists, entomologists, biologists and other faculty discussing how they might work together.

This issue also introduces readers to the Digital Innovation in Agrifood Systems Laboratory (DIAL) and the Center for Food Demand Analysis and Sustainability, each led by agricultural economists who confidently embarked on these ambitious efforts because of their ability to work across multiple disciplines.

While our faculty work in specific departments, it’s often their collaborative achievements that make a global impact.

Karen Plaut, PhD
Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture

Purdue Agriculture, 615 West State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2053 USA, (765) 494-8392

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