Riley Lectures

This Year's Riley Memorial Lecture, June 5, 2018

The 2018 Riley Memorial Lecturer is Alison Van Eenennaam, Cooperative Extension Specialist in Animal Genomics and Biotechnology, University of California, Davis, who will speak on the topic, "Does Agriculture Have a Parallel Science Problem?" The lecture will be held June 5, 2018, at 4:00 pm, in the AAAS Auditorium, 1200 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC. Following the lecture, Dr. Van Eenennaam will join a panel discussion with noted leaders from the international research community, agribusiness and other stakeholders including Rattan Lal, Distinguished University Professor of Soil Science and Director of the Carbon Management and Sequestration Center at The Ohio State University and Jay Akridge, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Diversity at Purdue University. More details and to RSVP to the free lecture.


Charles Valentine Riley Memorial Lectures. In 2008, the Charles Valentine Riley Memorial Foundation (RMF) selected the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to receive an endowment to be used to further the goals of RMF and to build on the legacy of Charles Valentine Riley with an annual lecture. 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.

Lecture Theme. The theme of the annual AAAS 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.

Riley's Connection with AAAS. 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 context. That is why the lecture collaboration between AAAS, RMF and WFPF provides a unique opportunity to build upon Riley’s legacy as a “whole picture” person with a vision for enhancing agriculture through scientific knowledge.

Early History of Speakers, 2006 and 2008. Prior to the endowment made at AAAS, RMF presented two national lectures honoring Charles Valentine Riley. RMF collaborated with USDA’s National Agricultural Library and Texas A&M University to present Charles Valentine Riley Memorial Lectures in 2006 and 2008. The 2008 lecture was presented by Joachim von Braun, then Director General, International Food Policy Institute, on “Agriculture for Sustainable Economic Development: A Global R&D Initiative to Avoid a Deep and Complex Crisis.” The 2006 lecture was presented by Per Pinstrap-Anderson, H.E. Babcock at Cornell University and World Food Prize Laureate on “The Impact of Technology Change in Agriculture on Poverty and Armed Conflict.”

AAAS Charles Valentine Riley Memorial Lectures, 2010-2017

Listed below are brief descriptions of the AAAS Riley Memorial Lectures. View lecture videos and read proceedings of the lecture and associated panel discussions here.

The 2017 AAAS Charles Valentine Riley Memorial Lecture was held June 15, 2017, and featured a keynote delivered by Dr. Robert Fraley, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Monsanto. His talk — Joining Forces to Protect the Future of Agriculture and the Planet — addressed the need for collaboration and disruptive innovation to meet the world’s food security and environmental challenges, with a collective push for increased R&D funding and better communication with society about science-related issues.

The 2016 AAAS Riley Lecture was presented on May 23, 2016, by Randy Woodson, Chancellor, North Carolina State University, on “The Role of U.S. Research Universities in Meeting the Global Food Security Challenge.”

The 2015 AAAS Riley Lecture was presented on June 16, 2015, by Steven Leath, President, Iowa State University, on “A University President’s Perspective on the Economic Importance of Pursuing a Unifying Message to Make Agriculture a National Priority.”

The 2014 AAAS Riley Lecture was presented by The Honorable Daniel Glickman, Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, on “A Food and Agricultural Research Agenda to Deal with the Asteroids of the Future.”

The 2013 AAAS Riley Lecture was presented by Stephen P. Long, Gutgesell Endowed University Professor of Plant Biology and Crop Sciences, University of Illinois, on “Food, Feed and Fuel from Crops under Global Atmospheric Change: Could we have it all in 2030?”

The 2012 AAAS Riley Lecture was presented by Rob Horsch, Deputy Director for Research & Development, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The 2011 AAAS Riley Lecture was presented by Pamela C. Roland, Professor of Plant Pathology, University of California, Davis, on “Tomorrow’s Table: Organic Farming, Genetics and the Future of Food.”

The 2010 AAAS Riley Lecture was presented by Roger Beachy, Director, USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, on “Agricultural Research: Changing of the Guard, Guarding the Change.”