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Harnessing Innovation for Global Development

“We’re expanding scientific collaboration with other countries and investing in game-changing science and technology to help spark historic leaps in development.” – President Obama, September 2010

President Obama’s Global Development Policy, released in Fall 2010, calls for investments in game-changing innovation to accelerate progress toward development goals in health, food security, climate change, energy and environmental sustainability, and broad-based economic growth. Focusing on innovation utilizes the U.S. comparative advantages in research and innovation, making our efforts more effective and efficient. 

Today, government and private sector leaders gathered at the White House to highlight progress in answering President Obama’s call to use science, technology and innovation to promote global development. At this event, several new public and private sector efforts were announced that will:

• Harness the energy, idealism, and expertise of university students and faculty to generate, implement, and evaluate new solutions to critical development challenges;

• Make the greatest use of scientific breakthroughs by expediting commercialization of inventions for humanitarian purposes and rewarding companies that use their patented technologies to solve societal challenges; and

• Leverage advances in Internet and communication technologies to accelerate research and scale innovations –such as financial services for the unbanked– faster, further, and more efficiently.


USDA and partners to provide new genetic resources to support global agricultural development

At the event, USDA Chief Scientist and Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics Dr. Catherine Woteki announced the launch of the Germplasm Resources Information Network-Global (GRIN-Global), a powerful but easy-to-use, Internet-based information management system for the world’s plant genebanks. USDA’s Agricultural Research Service has partnered with Bioversity International and the Global Crop Diversity Trust on this project. 

“Innovation in agriculture is central to global development and this Administration has recognized and remains committed to the important role of science and technological innovation in confronting the challenges of the 21st century,” Woteki said. “For agricultural genebanks, researchers and producers worldwide, GRIN-Global provides a powerful information tool to safeguard and utilize invaluable crop diversity. It also expands and streamlines access to USDA’s Germplasm Resources Information Network, a database of more than 540,000 different samples of plants available from the National Plant Germplasm System.”

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