July 3, 2014

Panel to Showcase Benefits of Private Sector Plant Breeding

It’s no secret that there are more and more opportunities in private sector plant breeding compared to that of the public sector, but do graduate students studying plant breeding understand the advantages and disadvantages of each?

To help bridge the knowledge gap, the National Association of Plant Breeders will host a panel discussion at it’s 2014 meeting Aug. 5-8 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The panel features five individuals whose careers range from public to private. Panelists are Rita Mumm, University of Illinois; Ron Ferris, Syngenta Seeds; Jane Dever, Texas A&M University; Elliot Heffner, DuPont Pioneer; and Chad Geater, Syngenta Seeds.

“It’s important for graduate students to broaden their horizons with what they can do with their degree,” says Duke Pauli, who helped organize the session. “There are lots of benefits that you don’t get in academia, plus the number of jobs just aren’t there.”

Pauli, who just started his post-doctoral work at Cornell University, has been an NAPB member for the past four years. In talking about the importance of this session, he referenced the study “Plant Breeding Graduate Education: Opinions about Critical Knowledge, Experience, and Skill Requirements from Public and Private Stakeholders Worldwide.”

According to the study, “Many public sector plant breeders will be responsible for not only conducting research and developing cultivars, but also educating and mentoring students aspiring to become plant breeders. Most breeding positions in industrialized countries are in the private sector …”

This panel discussion will be held Aug. 8 at 1:30 p.m. at the host hotel, Minneapolis Airport Marriott. For more information about the NAPB meeting, visit www.plantbreeding.org. Registration is $450 for full members and $150 for students. To register for the 2014 meeting, visit www.plantbreeding.com.

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