AgTech Innovation Hub awards inaugural research projects

Five innovative research projects were awarded funding from the new AgTech Innovation Hub, a multimillion-dollar collaboration between Ohio State and Nationwide.

First announced last fall, the AgTech Innovation Hub is facilitated by CFAES and aims to encourage the development of new solutions to help the agricultural ecosystem while better understanding, managing, and mitigating climate risk.

Using a format similar to that of the television show “Shark Tank,” nine CFAES researchers were chosen to pitch their yearlong project ideas before a judging panel, and five were awarded funding to be completed through the hub.

The projects that were chosen focus on drought risk reduction, mapping climate risk audiences, precision risk 

management, studying pathogen interactions and climate risk to improve soybean establishment, and cell-permeable proteins for sustainable organic agriculture. 

“We had so many good candidates for this first round of funding,” said Devin Fuhrman, Nationwide’s chief agriculture and sponsor relations officer. “I’m excited to see what insights their research produces and how that knowledge will help improve the agricultural ecosystem.” 

Nationwide pledged up to $2 million in initial funding to identify and execute initiatives for the AgTech Innovation Hub and plans to provide additional future funding and resources. The hub will provide tools, resources, skills, and funding to address the changing needs of agriculture innovation to minimize climate risk and insight to accurately insure those risks. 

This partnership builds on the collaborative that Nationwide and the Nationwide Foundation already have with CFAES, said Cathann A. Kress, Ohio State’s vice president for agricultural administration and dean of CFAES. 

“It will challenge our students and faculty to create innovative solutions to tackle the challenges we face regarding the nexus of ecosystem sustainability, food security, and viable production agriculture,” she said. 

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