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Food Science and Technology Research Gets a Long-Awaited Boost

Food science and technology research in the United States has suffered from sluggish public funding for many years. Yet simultaneously, the food system has faced increasing complexity and disruption from a range of socio-economic, environmental, and market forces. This contradiction was highlighted in IFT’s 2020 white paper, Food Research Call to Action on Funding and Priorities, and has been the impetus behind IFT’s advocacy efforts to increase food science and technology research funding. 

Greater funding is essential to generating solutions across the food system, from agricultural production and food manufacturing to retail and food service, and is critical to ensuring a secure food supply, reducing foodborne disease, and assisting with environmental protection and national security efforts.  

Fortunately, the tide is shifting. With the introduction of the new National Science Foundation (NSF) Directorate for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships (TIP), part of the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 passed by Congress in July, IFT is pleased to see a new funding path for food science and technology research. We welcome the opportunity to work with the NSF TIP Directorate to encourage research translation into innovations, processes, and products in areas of societal, national, and geostrategic importance to the United States, particularly those involving the food-energy-water system. 

One urgent area that new funding can help with is ensuring U.S. food security through improvements in both the food supply chain and the delivery of nutritious food to the U.S. population. IFT looks forward to opportunities to collaborate with the NSF to address these and other challenges and identify gaps in foundational and applied research that the agency can help support, such as food system risk and resilience research related to climate change.

The new NSF TIP Directorate is an exciting step toward increasing opportunities for food science and technology research funding and helping ensure a resilient, sustainable, and equitable food system for the future. IFT commends Congress and all contributors for their efforts in bringing forward this new funding pathway for both applied and basic research.  

For more information, contact IFT's Senior Director of Government Affairs and Nutrition Anna Rosales at [email protected]

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