The Soybean Innovation Lab is comprised of strong natural and social science research that is fundamental to soybean development. The concept of a research foundation is meant to symbolize, as well as literally serve as, the basis on which the development to commercialization process can go forward. The research and learning outputs, such as germplasm development, plant breeder training, inoculum investigation, agronomic guidelines, and characteristics of economically sustainable soybean production, provide organizations along the value chain the critical information needed for investment, decision-making, and enterprise development.
The Soybean Innovation Lab is based on an integrated modular design that maximizes collaboration among consortium members and stakeholders with the SMART Farm as its platform. The modularity allows specific programs to be expanded, extended, and replicated in other regions and countries and provides the flexibility needed in order to adapt to in-country needs according to each country’s current levels of soybean breeding, education, production, utilization, market development, and equitable access. All the modules play an important role in understanding the drivers of a sustainable soybean system.
The Soybean Innovation Lab comprises four foundation pllars of activity. International and U.S. researchers focus on nine Managed Research Areas (MRAs).
Pillar I: Genetic Improvement
- Plant Breeding and Germplasm: Brian Diers and Randy Nelson, University of Illinois
- Grain and Seed Quality: Kristin Bilyeu, University of Missouri
- Plant Breeder Education: Rita Mumm, University of Illinois
Pillar II: Crop Productivity and Quality
- Production and Agronomy: Dan Reynolds, Mississippi State University
- Environmental Impacts: Jeremy Guest, University of Illinois
Pillar III: Nutrition (Human and Livestock)
- Utilization for Human Nutrition: Juan Andrade, University of Illinois
- Utilization for Livestock Nutrition: Mike Lacy, University of Georgia
Pillar IV: Value Chains & Socio-Economic Research
- Gender Impacts: Kathleen Ragsdale, Mississippi State University
- Economic Impacts: Jill Findeis, University of Missouri