Mars, in partnership with UC Davis, launched the Innovation Institute for Food and Health, part of the university's World Food Center, at a day-long symposium on Wednesday. Laureates and other leading scientists discussed major challenges relating to improving global food security, sustainable agriculture and health for a growing world population.
The Innovation Institute is being supported over the next 10 years with a pledge of $40 million from Mars and $20 million from UC Davis and aims to advance new discoveries in sustainable food, agriculture and health.
For 40 years, the partnership between UC Davis and Mars has allowed the two organizations to work together on several scientific research projects related to agriculture, food, nutrition, biology and veterinary health. This has included sequencing the cacao genome in 2010 and founding the African Orphan Crops Consortium, both international programs aimed at improving yield, productivity and climatic adaptability of key crops.
UC Davis frequently partners with the private sector to advance the latest sustainability innovations. Last year, Honda unveiled its net zero energy "Smart Home" on the UC Davis campus. The company says the building, which includes a charging facility for a Honda Fit EV and is intended to demonstrate Honda's vision for zero-carbon living and personal mobility, will on average generate more electricity from on-site renewable energy than it receives from the local utility.
Late last year, the University of California announced it would allocate $1 billion over five years for direct investments in solutions to climate change. In addition, as part of UC President Janet Napolitano’s goal of bringing university operations to carbon neutrality by 2025, the 10-campus university system has signed agreements to secure substantial solar energy for the next 25 years.