The gift of science

Science is among the greatest of gifts. It’s a gift to those of us privileged to advance it daily, whose job description is to make the world a better place.

Your work makes a difference! Some of you do it through discovery, others through dissemination and some through perpetuating the gift of science by training the next generation of scientists.

It’s a gift, of course, to its beneficiaries as well. Solsooti Ghiri was a subsistence farmer in Nepal before a project administered by UF/IFAS put a tablet in her hands. The tablet had all the information she needed to become a vet tech.

Solsooti Ghiri, right

She went from tending to a few animals to caring for a whole community’s animals, increasing her income and that of those she serves. In the process she became a leader of a 1,400-member women’s cooperative. That’s not only one life changed but put on a trajectory to change other lives–with simple science.

A new way of giving

The establishment of the Global Food Systems Institute this year positions us to change many more lives around the world. It combines the USAID-funded Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems, which helped Ghiri, with our other international programming to extend and strengthen our global impact.

Extending the gift of science has to be done in a smart way to do the most good for the most people.

After the tablets got handed out in Nepal, Conner Mullally, of our Food and Resource Economics Department, and his colleagues took a good hard look at the outcomes and not assume that what makes the donor feel good actually improves the recipients’ lives. He concluded that the work, while not an across-the-board success, changed the arc of the lives of the poorest of the poor enrolled in the program. That learning can help us fine tune the details and make this program a greater gift.

Conner Mullally

Putting a gift to the test

Giving with our heart feels good. Giving science is different.  It’s giving with your mind. Identify a problem, design a solution, test it, and teach others. Then evaluate for effectiveness to see if the solution is really the gift you believe it to be.

Science is a way of giving that feels good to the recipient. Many people care about human suffering, but we have the power and opportunity to alleviate it.

At UF/IFAS, giving is never out of season. Happy holidays to all, and let’s have a great year of giving in 2023.



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Posted: December 14, 2022

Category: Academics, AGRICULTURE, Livestock, UF/IFAS
Tags: Economics, IFAS, Livestock, USAID

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