It is highly recommended that you apply for a course at least 6-8 weeks before the start date to guarantee there will be space available. After that date you may be placed on a waitlist. Courses with low enrollment may be cancelled up to 4 weeks before start date if sufficient enrollments are not met. If you are able to access the online application form, then registration for that particular course is still open.
By 2050 the earth's population will likely reach 9.5 billion people, requiring an 80% increase in agricultural production. Achieving this will require innovative technologies to make agriculture more efficient and optimize existing inputs.
The course offers a unique perspective by focusing on three areas of agricultural innovation; a) macro / micro aspects of environmental impacts including climate, weather, and microbiological, b) the application of advanced technologies, such as new materials, in agricultural processes, and c) the use of data and modeling to improve yield by enhanced precision and predictive power.
The course will cover a variety of aspects ranging from the big picture and motivation, fundamental scientific aspects, as well as environmental considerations (e.g. macro-micro climate, air quality), macro-micro water issues, and specific topics such as water-soil interactions, biomaterials in agriculture and environment, and foliar disease. Techniques covered include computing and big data, analytics, sensing and data assimilation, risk modeling, microbial dynamics, genomics, and synthetic biology. This course offers a unique interdisciplinary experience, bringing together faculty from many related areas. It’s the only place you can get such a concentrated and comprehensive view of this emerging field.
Takeaways from this course include:
- Understanding the critical role of interdisciplinary innovation in creating the agricultural technologies of the future for the next round of productivity gains
- Understanding the current and potential role of biomaterials in agriculture
- Understanding of nano-scale relevant to agriculture
- Understanding the role of computation in materials design for agricultural applications
- Highlighting the essentials of advanced technology such as drones, robotics, and remote sensing technology
- Understanding the principles of spatial design of experiments and the use of relevant data
- Exploring infrastructure, mathematical models, and software in a laboratory setting
- Appreciating the important role of climate, weather, and microbiology and ways to mitigate negative consequences
Who should attend:
This course is designed for people in roles/titles such as VP, director, or manager of R&D; general management with technical background; research scientist or engineer; government administrators (U.S. or overseas); as well as people in academia such as university professors or graduate students.
Industries that would benefit from this course include chemical, machinery, environmental, commodity production (agricultural), seed manufacturing, biotechnology, pharmaceutical, venture capital, and agricultural non-profits including cooperative.
Earn a Professional Certificate in Innovation and Technology
Agriculture, Innovation, and the Environment may be taken individually or as a core course for the Professional Certificate Program in Innovation and Technology.
DAY 1 – Jun. 13
8:30: Introduction to the course, formation of groups
Markus J. Buehler, Faculty Director
Department Head, Civil and Environmental Engineering; McAfee Professor of Engineering; Director, Laboratory for Atomistic and Molecular Mechanics
8:50: Exchange: Attendees provide informal introductions to colleagues
9:00: Big Picture: National and international perspective
Sally M. Schneider, Deputy Administrator, USDA ARS
10:00: Big Picture: Food security and sustainable resource management in the context of climate change
Dennis McLaughlin, H.M. King Bhumibol Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
1:00: Big Picture: Future microbial threats to agriculture and humans
Martin F. Polz, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
2:00: Big Picture: Atmospheric Effects and Climate Change
Dan Cziczo, Associate Professor – Dept. of Civil and environmental Engineering.
3:15: Technical: Water, soil, infrastructure
Ruben Juanes, Associate Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Director, Henry L. Pierce Laboratory for Infrastructure Science and Engineering
DAY 2 – Jun. 14
8:30: Big Picture: USDA NIFA and Cyber-physical Systems
Daniel Schmoldt, National Program Leader, Division of Agricultural Systems
9:30 - Technical — RNAi and biological frontiers
Daniel Griffith Anderson, Samuel A. Goldblith Professor of Applied Biology, Chemical Engineering and Health Sciences & Technology, Department of Chemical Engineering
10:45: Technical — Irrigation and Rainfall
Ross E. Alter, Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Eltahir Research Group, MIT
1:00: Technical — Disease transmission and fluid mechanics
Lydia Bourouiba, Esther and Harold E. Edgerton Career Development Assistant Professor; Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Associate Faculty, Institute for Medical Engineering and Science
3:15: Technical — Disease transmission (continued)
4:00: Laboratory Demonstration – Civil and Environmental Engineering
DAY 3 – Jun. 15
8:30: Technical — Bioengineering and biomaterials
Robert S. Langer, Institute Professor, Professor of Chemical Engineering, Professor of Biological Engineering, Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Roger Beachy, Chief Scientific Officer, Indigo Agriculture, First Director of USDA NIFA.
1:00: Technical — Biomaterials in agriculture, silk-based materials, and food preservation
Benedetto Marelli, Paul M. Cook Career Development Assistant Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
2:00: Big Picture, The MIT Abdul Latif Jameel World Water and Food Security Lab (J-WAFS)
John H. Lienhard V, Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Water and Food, Director – J-WAFS
3:15: Technical — Biomaterials in agriculture, silk-based materials, and food preservation (continued)
4:00: Laboratory Demonstration — Civil and Environmental Engineering
Optional informal dinner (Harvard Square)
Group meetings (scheduled by each group, about one hour, 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm)
DAY 4 – Jun. 16
8:30: Technical: Advanced materials design
Markus J. Buehler, Faculty Director
10:45: Related Laboratory - Molecular dynamics modeling and simulation
1:00: Technical — Introduction to Geospatial Systems, GIS, and Cyber-Security
Abel Sanchez, Research Scientist, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Executive Director,MIT Geospatial Research Center
3:15: Technical — Introduction to Spatial Design of Experiments / Computing Infrastructure for GIS
4:30: Lab tour of Koch Institute
Group meetings to prepare for Friday discussion (scheduled by each group, about two hours, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm)
DAY 5 – Jun. 17
8:30: Technical — Precision agriculture, root mapping
Cameron Dryden, General Manager, Northrup Grumman AOA Xinetics
9:15: Technical — Precision agriculture, demonstration for areal sensing (GIS and Image Processing) and Computer Lab
10:45: Group discussion and short presentations
11:45: Wrap-up & certificates
Markus J. Buehler, Faculty Director
Noon: End of program
This course meets 8:30 am - 5:00 pm Monday through Thursday, and 8:30 am - Noon on Friday. There will be group work on Wednesday and Thursday evenings (see course outline).
Markus J. Buehler, Head of the MIT Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, is an internationally renowned materials scientist and Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He directs the Laboratory for Atomistic and Molecular Mechanics (LAMM), leads the MIT-Germany program, and is Principal Investigator on numerous national and international research programs. Buehler’s primary research interest is to identify and apply innovative approaches to design better materials from less, using a combination of high-performance computing, new manufacturing techniques, and advanced experimental testing. He combines bio-inspired materials design with high-throughput approaches to create materials with architectural features from the nano- to the macro-scale, and applies them to various domains that range from composites for vehicles, coatings for energy technologies, to innovative and sustainable construction materials.
Buehler is a sought-after lecturer and has given hundreds of invited, keynote, and plenary talks throughout the world. His scholarly work is highly-cited and includes more than 250 articles on computational materials science, biomaterials, and nanotechnology, many in high-impact journals such as Nature and Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences. He authored two monographs in the areas of computational materials science and bio-inspired materials design, and is a founder of the emerging research area of materiomics. He has appeared on numerous TV and radio shows to explain the impact of his research to broad audiences. In 2016 Prof. Buehler was awarded the Foresight Institute Feynman Prize for his advances in nanotechnology.
Lydia Bourouiba is the Esther and Harold E. Edgerton Career Development Assistant Professor in the MIT Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Associate Faculty at the Institute for Medical Engineering and Science. She is a physical applied mathematician focusing on problems at the interface of fluid dynamics and disease transmission with the aim of elucidating the fundamental physical mechanisms shaping the epidemiology and disease transmission dynamics in human, animal and plant populations.
Daniel Cziczo is an Associate Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry in Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences and Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT. The major focus of his research is the interrelationship of particulate matter and cloud formation. His research utilizes laboratory and field studies to elucidate how small particles interact with water vapor to form droplets and ice crystals which are important players in the Earth’s climate system. Experiments include using small cloud chambers in the laboratory to mimic atmospheric conditions that lead to cloud formation and observing clouds in situ from remote mountaintop sites or through the use of research aircraft.
Cameron Dryden as a General Manager at Northrup Grumman AOA Xinetics.
Ruben Juanes is an Associate Professor in the MIT Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Director and the Henry L. Pierce Laboratory for Infrastructure Science and Engineering. He is a computational geoscientist and engineer, with a strong interest in the physics of multiphase flow in porous media. His research focuses on advancing our fundamental understanding and predictive capabilities of the simultaneous flow of two or more fluids through rocks, soils and other porous materials. Research in his group combines theory, simulation and experiments that elucidate fundamental aspects of multi-fluid flow, which are then applied for prediction of large-scale Earth science problems in the areas of energy and the environment, including geological carbon sequestration, methane hydrates, and ecohydrology of arid environments.
Professor Robert Langer is one of 13 Institute Professors (the highest honor awarded to a faculty member) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Langer has written approximately 1,000 articles. He also has more than 600 issued or pending patents worldwide. Langer’s patents have been licensed or sublicensed to over 200 pharmaceutical, chemical, biotechnology, and medical device companies. He served as a member of the United States Food and Drug Administration’s SCIENCE Board, the FDA’s highest advisory board, from 1995-2002 and as its Chairman from 1999-2002. Langer has received over 160 major awards including the 2006 United States National Medal of Science; the Charles Stark Draper Prize, considered the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for engineers, and the 2008 Millennium Technology Prize, the world’s largest technology prize. He is the also the only engineer to receive the Gairdner Foundation International Award; 70 recipients of this award have subsequently received a Nobel Prize. Among numerous other awards Langer has received are the Dickson Prize for Science (2002); Heinz Award for Technology, Economy and Employment (2003); the Harvey Prize (2003); the John Fritz Award (2003) (given previously to inventors such as Thomas Edison and Orville Wright), the General Motors Kettering Prize for Cancer Research (2004); the Dan David Prize in Materials Science (2005); the Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research (2005) the largest prize in the U.S. for medical research; induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame (2006); the Max Planck Research Award (2008); and the Prince of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research (2008). In 1998, he received the Lemelson-MIT prize, the world’s largest prize for invention, for being “one of history’s most prolific inventors in medicine.” In 1989 Langer was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, and in 1992 he was elected to both the National Academy of Engineering and to the National Academy of Sciences. He is one of very few people ever elected to all three United States National Academies and the youngest in history (at age 43) to ever receive this distinction.
Benedetto Marelli is an Assistant Professor in the MIT Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He works in the area of structural biopolymers, biomineralization and self-assembly. By using biofabrication strategies, his research group designs bio-inspired materials that work at the biotic/abiotic interface to prevent or mitigate environmental impact. His interests and collaborative opportunities span widely across the department. He brings a wealth of experience, and a strong focus on engineering and innovation from a multiple-scale perspective with interests that include mechanical and optoelectronic properties of natural polymers, biocomposites, additive manufacturing, and emerging technologies.
Dennis McLaughlin is the H.M. King Bhumibol Professor of Water Resource Management in the MIT Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. His principle fields of interest are ground water hydrology, water resource systems, and environmental data assimilation.
Martin F. Polz is a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT. He studies environmental microbiology, looking at the dynamics that govern microbes’ interactions and evolution to learn the role of individual populations within the community, the range of genomic similarity that defines a functional unit, and what mechanisms govern diversification of microbial populations in the environment. His research group addresses these questions using a combination of quantitative molecular approaches, genomics, physiology and modeling. The group is also exploring environmental and evolutionary mechanisms that trigger the emergence of pathogenic variants among microbes.
Abel Sanchez, Executive Director, Research Scientist, Laboratory for Manufacturing and Productivity, MIT
Dr. Abel Sanchez holds a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). His areas of expertise include the Internet of Things (IOT), radio frequencyidentification (RFID), simulation, engineering complex software systems, and cyber-physical security. He teaches graduate courses in Information engineering, cybersecurity, and software architecture. For the past six years, his research has focused on architecting large scale distributed simulation systems.
Sally M. Schneider is a deputy administrator at the USDA Agricultural Research Service. She is a national program leader for more than 40 programs, initiative, and research projects involving a wide range of agriculture-related topics.
This course takes place on the MIT campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
|Fundamentals: Core concepts, understandings, and tools (30%)||30|
|Latest Developments: Recent advances and future trends (40%)||40|
|Industry Applications: Linking theory and real-world (30%)||30|
|Lecture: Delivery of material in a lecture format (70%)||70|
|Discussion or Groupwork: Participatory learning (10%)||10|
|Labs: Demonstrations, experiments, simulations (20%)||20|
|Introductory: Appropriate for a general audience (40%)||40|
|Specialized: Assumes experience in practice area or field (20%)||20|
|Advanced: In-depth explorations at the graduate level (40%)||40|