About the Award

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.  Nominations are being accepted now for the 2025 Prize.

Jeffrey Ross-Ibarra, University of California, Davis, received the 2024 NAS Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences.

Ross-Ibarra’s pioneering studies on the evolutionary genetics of maize, a key crop species for global food production, advance our understanding of the evolution of all crops.

2024 NAS Prize in Food & Agriculture, Ross-Ibarra social

Ross-Ibarra’s research uses population genetic approaches to address questions ranging from transposable element evolution to the genetics of quantitative traits, maize and human coevolution, domestication, and local adaptation. His studies of maize and its wild relatives have revealed the extensive impact of changing genomic diversity in maize and demonstrated the utility of genomic approaches to predict crop performance.

Watch Ross-Ibarra’s acceptance speech.

Award History

The NAS Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences was established in 2016, endowed through generous gifts from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), a nonprofit organization working to support innovative and actionable science addressing today’s food and agriculture challenges.

The inaugural prize was awarded in 2017 to Edward S. Buckler 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.

Most Recent Recipient
Jeffrey Ross-Ibarra, 2024 NAS Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences.
Jeffrey Ross-Ibarra
Call for Nominations

Awards will be presented in a variety of fields including biophysics, astronomy, microbiology, medical sciences, and more.

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Award Types

Previous Award Recipients

Huaijun Zhou
David Lobell
Christina M. Grozinger
Zachary B. Lippman
Elizabeth Ainsworth
Rodolphe Barrangou