A new application of speed dating is seeking to serve science by connecting regional climate change researchers in Portland, Ore.
Speed science is came to Portland last week, borne on the wings of the Northwest's largest ag research project, a three state Pacific Northwest Regional Approaches to Climate Change in Pacific Northwest Agriculture effort.
The projects annual meeting Feb. 12-15 began with a focus on building familiarity quickly to connect minds.
The idea was to connect researchers quickly so they can compare notes, says Stanford Eigenbrode, University of Idaho entomology professor, who was project director. "It's about taking the particulars of the individual projects and making sure we're integrating them across all areas we're working on when we can."
All of the delegates "have glimpses about the things that we're working on, he explains. At the conference, he wanted to expand knowledge among delegates and disciplines to see how the pieces fit together.
"We're interested in long-term climate change," he notes. "But the things we're working on, like pests, nitrogen efficiency, soil carbon management, tillage and cropping systems – all are just as relevant to agriculture in the next few years as they will be in 50 years."
He hopes that the project will stay happily hitched to the region's farmers. "Nothing we're doing is divorced from the concerns of today's growers," Eigenbrode promises.
At issue is a $20 million five year project funded two years ago by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. As project director, Eigenbrode is now heading up more than 100 researchers and 22 grad students at UI, Oregon State University and Washington State University, as well as the Agricultural Research Service.
Researchers at the partner institutions gathered in Portland to share progress to date and plan future activities. On the agenda was a discussion of summer research tours to familiarize researcher and growers with research sites and objectives.