Charles Valentine Riley Memorial Lectures. The Charles Valentine Riley Memorial Foundation (RMF) selected the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 2008 to receive an endowment to be used to further the goals of RMF and to build on the legacy of Charles Valentine Riley. Concurrently with establishment of the endowment, a collaborative agreement between RMF, AAAS, and the World Food Prize Foundation (WFPF) was signed to implement the intent of the endowment.
The theme of the annual Charles Valentine Riley Memorial Lecture is “ to promote a broader and more complete understanding of agriculture as the most basic human endeavor and to enhance agriculture through increased scientific knowledge.” Since this theme represents the goal put forth by RMF when it was founded in 1985, the three organizations collaborating to pursue common goals holds much promise for lifting the basic mission of RMF to greater heights.
Collaboration between AAAS, RMF, and WFPF provides a unique opportunity to build upon Charles Valentine Riley’s legacy as a “whole picture” person with a vision for enhancing agriculture through scientific knowledge. Professor Riley’s involvement with AAAS, beginning as a member in 1868, being elected a Fellow in 1874, and serving as Vice President for the biology section in 1888, brings into the perspective his broad view of how science impacts on agriculture when placed in the broadest contest.
The Unifying Message Partnership. In early 2014, RMF and Iowa State University led the development of a partnership that included Mississippi State University, Texas Tech University, Colorado State University, and the Soil and Water Conservation Society.
The objective of this partnership is to develop a unifying message in support of food, agricultural, and natural resources research. The first step in that process was to develop the report on “Pursuing a Unifying Message: Elevating Food, Agricultural and Natural Resources Research as a National Priority,” that was released at the National Press Club on December 5, 2014. The report and its release is envisioned to be the first of several activities involving different interest groups that will be involved in pursuing the uniform message. Links to the report and related information are available here.
Federal R&D Budgets. RMF collaborates with a number of scientific societies and AAAS to facilitate communications with societies concerned with some aspect of agriculture, food, nutrition, and natural resources that contribute to the annual R&D report on the federal budget. RMF organized a discussion session on December 9, 2009, led by then RMF Board member Catherine Woteki that included representatives from AAAS, USDA, RMF and six scientific societies. At that session AAAS agreed to add a disciplinary chapter agriculture, food, nutrition, and natural resources in the FY 2011 report and the representatives from the scientific societies present agreed to participate or arrange for participants from their societies. That chapter which has been each year through FY 2015 and since makes an important contribution to enhancing agriculture through increased scientific knowledge as more people develop a better understanding of the many federal interrelationships that impact on food and the environment. Because of the increased recognition of the importance of the programs reported in that chapter, two chapters have been prepared for the FY 2016 report. Chapter 23 on food safety, security, and nutrition and chapter 26 on agriculture and natural resources will be available online on April 30, 2015 here.