From horticulture to foreign policy: Davies to serve as Jefferson Science Fellow

           COLLEGE STATION – Dr. Fred Davies, a Texas A&M University horticulturist, will spend the 2013-2014 school year as a Jefferson Science Fellow assisting the U.S. government with foreign policy.

           Davies begins his 12-month fellowship in mid-August working in food security and international agriculture at the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development. He will return in September 2014 but remain available to the government for short-term projects for the following five years.

Dr. Fred Davies (Photo courtesy of Texas A&M AgriLife Communications)

Dr. Fred Davies (Photo courtesy of Texas A&M AgriLife Communications)

           The Jefferson Science Fellowships allow tenured academic scientists and engineers from institutions of higher learning in the U.S. to help form and implement national foreign policy. The program is administered by the National Academies and supported through a partnership between the U.S. academic community, professional scientific societies, the State Department and the USAID.

           The program is based on the premise that science and technology make fundamental contributions to security, economic, health and cultural conditions of modern societies, and are integral to the development and implementation of foreign policy.

           Davies is among 13 individuals selected this year and is only the second Texas A&M faculty member chosen for the honor. Nicholas Suntzeff, a distinguished professor of physics and astronomy, was a 2010-2011 Fellow.

           As an expert in international horticulture and agriculture, Davies has been a Guggenheim Fellow and Senior Fulbright Fellow to Peru, Mexico and most recently Indonesia – where he taught, lectured, gave workshops and mentored at three universities and the Indonesian Institute for Science. His research has been supported by NASA, the National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Agriculture and other agencies.

           “This is an excellent opportunity for public service in international agriculture,” Davies said. “I am delighted to help represent Texas A&M’s strong tradition to public service.

           “When I was working in Indonesia this past year, the huge food security problems the world is facing really hit home, particularly as we increase from 7 billion to 9 billion people during the next 30 years. Indonesia, the largest Muslim country and third largest democracy, is importing 50 percent of its food, while more than half of Indonesian children are malnourished. These are huge food security, human health, economic and political stability issues – and Indonesia is not unique.”

           Davies has been involved with the leadership of the American Society for Horticultural Sciences, serving as international vice president, president and chair of the board of directors. He also chairs a national committee of industry and academics to develop the society’s Certified Horticulturist program which has meant communicating to the public, press and industry the importance and needs of professionalizing horticulture.

           Besides numerous research and teaching awards, Davies is a Fellow of the American Society for Horticultural Sciences and Fellow of the International Plant Propagators’ Society, where he also served as president and is currently editor.

           His co-authored book, Plant Propagation, is the standard text of the field and is used worldwide. He was recognized as a Regents Professor, the highest academic ranking a faculty member can receive at Texas A&M, and as a Texas A&M AgriLife Research Faculty Fellow, the highest honor that agency bestows.

           Davies is a native of Cranbury, N.J. He earned bachelor of arts and master of science degrees from Rutgers University and a doctorate in horticulture, plant physiology and tropical agriculture from the University of Florida.

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