Paper Focuses on Investing Wisely in Sustainable Intensification Research



To slow the practice of land conversion, the researchers said funding organizations must prioritize projects most likely to result in sustainable intensification on national and global scales.

When you decide to make a large investment in something — for example, a house — you likely ask yourself a series of questions to gauge if it’s a smart buy. Will the size and type of house you’ve chosen, in a given city or neighborhood, deliver long-term value? Will it improve your quality of life? And, of course, do the benefits justify the cost?

Asking these questions is probably an intuitive part of your personal financial decision-making, an autopilot analysis you go through before shelling out big bucks. But surprisingly, big spenders in the world of agricultural research — organizations that allocate money to scientists around the nation and world — have no equivalent framework for making funding decisions about research and development focused on sustainable intensification of agriculture, which University of Nebraska–Lincoln researchers Patricio Grassini and Ken Cassman say is widely recognized as one of the major pillars of a food-secure world.

That’s why, in a paper recently published in Nature Sustainability, Grassini and Cassman propose a four-pronged prioritization framework for funders to use as they distribute research dollars to agricultural scientists pursuing the goal of sustainable intensification.

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