In the 17th century, philosophers debated whether scientific inquiry should be based on a reductionist approach, in which complex processes and systems are viewed as the sum of their parts, or on a systems approach, in which all the components of processes and systems are studied in relation to each other.
For over 300 years, the reductionist approach dominated with remarkable results. With our current ability to manage large and complex data sets, there is renewed interest in adapting a systems science approach to modern challenges in agricultural and food science to uncover solutions at the speed of modern life.
The Sustainable Agriculture and Education program (SARE), the Integrated Organic Program (IOP) and the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) within the National Institute of Food and Agriculture require that applicants use a systems approach to meet challenges faced by producers and consumers. The directors of these programs, in partnership with Cornell University, are offering a one-day, national workshop on the preparation and management of competitively awarded, systems-based grant applications.
Information for the workshop and registration information can be found at http://blogs.cce.cornell.edu/usdasystems.
Please pass this information to anyone who is interested in applying to these programs. There will be web access to the workshop so travel is not necessary. Please note that the deadline for registration is Dec 3, 2009.
Outreach Specialist, SARE Outreach