Two years ago, Monsanto launched the Corn Rootworm Knowledge Program, designed to reward the research and academic community for outstanding projects that addressed specific aspects of the pest and how best to manage it. Now, with $6 million in funding and 13 research projects currently underway, Monsanto is expanding the program to include projects on insect pests that can significantly impact all row crops across the U.S.
Monsanto’s new Insect Management Knowledge Program (IMKP), is set up similar to its predecessor, providing merit-based awards of up to $250,000 per award per year for up to three years for projects that will enhance the collective understanding of insect management. Monsanto has committed an additional $3 million over three years to support this public sector research on insect management.
The IMKP will be guided by an 11-person Advisory Committee that is co-chaired by Dr. Sherri Brown, vice president of science strategy for Monsanto, and Dr. Steven Pueppke, associate vice president of research and graduate studies for Michigan State University. The committee consists of academics and growers, and provides guidance on integrated pest management, as well as recommendations for areas of basic research on insect resistance and management that would be of interest to growers, the academic community and Monsanto.
“With the rootworm program, we saw true collaboration take place between ourselves and the academic community, which has shown us both new ways of thinking and conducting our own research in this vital area of agriculture,” said Brown. “It made perfect sense to expand the program to include insect pests that can impact row crops such as soybeans and cotton.”
Researchers may submit proposals in the areas of sustainable pest management; development of predictive models for developing resistance; biochemical, genetic and molecular characterization of pest resistance to control methods; facilitation of multi-year surveys of U.S. insect pest populations; and farmer education and training on insect management.
“Our hope is that this program, similar to its predecessor, will provide both industry and academia valuable research to continue to enhance our collective understanding of insect management, leading to even more effective solutions for farmers in the future,” said Pueppke.