The National Plant Systems Initiative: Research and Training to Foster Breakthroughs in Agriculture, Food, Health, and the Environment
Plants provide us with food, feed, fiber, and medicines: they sustain our air, water and biodiversity; and they provide recreational benefits. But these life-sustaining systems are under tremendous pressure from population growth, climate change, and unsustainable agricultural practices. At the same time, scientific advances and technology breakthroughs provide unprecedented opportunities to overcome these brewing crises. Success can only be achieved, however, by investing boldly - not only in research, but also in promoting new approaches to STEM training that will attract a diverse cohort to these vibrant economic sectors. The National Plant Systems Initiative links urgent research priorities to re-imagining the STEM pipeline.
Our ability to take advantage of these tremendous opportunities, however, can only be achieved by investing boldly in plant research. We must also promote its career potential, which requires that we re-imagine how we attract, mentor, involve, and deploy a diverse new generation to plant science and allied domains.
The intermingling of research, infrastructure, and training goals in the National Plant Systems Initiative is deliberate, and contrasts with the common practice of generating recommendations for each of these elements in isolation.
Over the next few months, the PSRN will be collecting input on the National Plant Systems Initiative from the plant science community. We invite you to review the document and share your comments here, on Plantae!