Food Ag Prize

Food Ag Prize

Scheduled for presentation in 2021, recipients will be announced in January. To get awards news straight to your inbox, make sure to sign up for our Connect with Awards newsletter.

About the NAS Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences

The NAS Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences recognizes research by a mid-career scientist (defined as up to 20 years since completion of PhD) at a U.S. institution who has made an extraordinary contribution to agriculture or to the understanding of the biology of a species fundamentally important to agriculture or food production. For the purpose of the prize, areas of science with applications to agriculture include plant and animal sciences, microbiology, nutrition and food science, soil science, entomology, veterinary medicine, and agricultural economics. The recipient will be awarded a medal and a $100,000 prize. The prize is endowed through generous gifts from the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Press Release Announcing Prize Creation»

Most Recent Recipient

Zachary B. Lippman, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, received the 2020 NAS Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences.

Lippman studies the genetics of when and where plants produce flowers, fruits, and seeds, and he uses this knowledge to accelerate crop breeding. His work, which aims to improve crop production and hardiness, helps to address the challenges of global population growth, environmental sustainability, and climate change. 

Lippman’s work puts him at the forefront of plant genetics and sets the stage for new tools and crop breeds to protect people from potential food insecurities caused by reduced farm land, climate change, water shortages and migration. Read more about Lippman's work»


Zachary B. Lippman (2020)
For his outstanding studies of mechanisms controlling plant stem cell maturation, for providing a means of circumventing negative epistasis arising when combining desirable agricultural traits, and for developing a CRISPR/Cas9 strategy for engineering quantitative trait variation for increased yield – a technique that will find widespread application.
Read more about Lippman's work»
Watch Lippman's acceptance speech»

Elizabeth Ainsworth (2019)
For pioneering research unraveling how anthropogenic atmospheric changes affect the physiology and growth of crops and for being a science ambassador and role model for the next generation of scientists.
Read more about Ainsworth's work» 
Watch Ainsworth's acceptance speech»

Rodolphe Barrangou (2018)
For his discovery of the genetic mechanisms and proteins driving CRISPR systems and their applications in food and agriculture, including virus resistance in the yogurt starter culture Streptococcus thermophilus and with the potential for translational genome editing in other microbes, crop plants and livestock.
Read more about Barrangou's work»
Watch Barrangou's acceptance speech»

Edward S. Buckler (2017)
For insights and discoveries that changed our understanding of quantitative genetics, for facilitating genetic characterization of genes underlying critical traits and their deployment for breeding programs in a myriad of species, and for exemplary collegiality in sharing resources for the betterment of crops and the human condition.
Read more about Buckler's work» 
Watch Buckler's acceptance speech»

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