Innovation and Technology in Agriculture and the Environment

Innovation and Technology in Agriculture and the Environment

The Earth’s population will likely exceed 10 billion people in just a few decades, requiring an 80% increase in agricultural production. This presents an urgent need for innovative technologies to make agriculture more efficient, as well as to optimize and adapt existing processes to changing conditions. This course aims to break the traditional boundaries of agriculture with an interdisciplinary approach to one of the world’s oldest industries. 

It will feature many diverse perspectives in engineering, technology, and science, and is especially geared towards those who are interested in small- or large-volume agricultural applications, government policy, agricultural entrepreneurship, biomaterials production, seed production, and auxiliary farming technology.

This course focuses on three fundamental areas that underpin agricultural innovation: 

  1. Nano/micro/global aspects of environmental impacts including climate, weather, and microbiological
  2. The application of advanced technologies, such as new materials and machines, in agricultural processes
  3. The use of data and modeling to improve yield by enhanced precision and predictive power using large-scale data analytics and simulation

This course was previously titled "Agriculture, Innovation, and the Environment."

Earn a Professional Certificate in Innovation and Technology

This course may be taken individually or as an elective for the Professional Certificate Program in Innovation and Technology.

Lead Instructor(s): 

Markus Buehler

Dates: 

Jun 19, 2017 - Jun 23, 2017

Course Length: 

5 Days

Course Fee: 

$4,500

CEUs: 

3.1

Status: 

  • Closed

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.

This course has limited enrollment. Apply early to guarantee your spot.

Participant Takeaways: 

Takeaways from this course include:

  • Network with peers from across many diverse backgrounds and gain insight into the critical role of interdisciplinary innovation in creating the agricultural technologies of the future for the next round of productivity gains
  • Explore the current and potential role of biomaterials in agriculture, e.g. modifying seeds for increased resiliency and to trigger growth
  • Highlight the essentials of advanced technology such as drones, robotics, and remote sensing technology
  • Learn how to manage and make sense of large and imperfect data sets from agriculture technologies in order to make intelligent, actionable decisions about farming
  • Appreciate the important role of climate, weather, and microbiology and ways to mitigate negative consequences
  • Gain insight into the agricultural marketplace for your entrepreneurial endeavors, including an overview of the agricultural business principles, how to market new agricultural products, who to market to, distribution systems, and more

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.

Program Outline: 

Note: Schedule/outline is subject to change. Last updated 2/9/2017

MONDAY

9:00–10:00 am: 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

10:00–10:30 am: Exchange — Attendees provide informal introductions to colleagues

10:30–10:45 am: Break

10:45 am–Noon: Introductory lecture
Chandra Madramootoo, James McGill Professor, McGill University and and MIT Abdul Latif Jameel World Water and Food Security Lab (J-WAFS)

Noon–1:00 pm: Lunch

1:00–2:00 pm: Big Picture — Atmospheric Effects and Climate Change
Dan Cziczo, Associate Professor, MIT Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS)

2:00–3:00 pm: Big Picture — Food security and sustainable resource management in the context of climate change I
Dennis McLaughlin, H.M. King Bhumibol Professor, MIT Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

3:00–3:15 pm: Break

3:15–4:00 pm: Big Picture —Food security and sustainable resource management in the context of climate change II
Dennis McLaughlin, H.M. King Bhumibol Professor, MIT Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

4:00–5:00 pm: Big Picture — Irrigation Drainage Water Management
Chandra Madramootoo, James McGill Professor, McGill University and MIT Abdul Latif Jameel World Water and Food Security Lab (J-WAFS)

5:00 pm: Adjourn

5:15–6:30 pm: Reception

TUESDAY

8:30–10:00 am: Technical — Soil science and related
Benjamin Kocar, Assistant Professor, MIT Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering  

10:0010:15 am: Break

10:15am–noon: Technical — Challenges and opportunities in food and water
John Lienhard, Director, Abdul Latif Jameel World Water and Food Security Lab; Director, Center for Clean Water and Clean Energy; Director, Rohsenow Kendall Heat Transfer Laboratory; Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Water and Food Security

Noon–1:00 pm: Lunch

1:00–3:00 pm: Technical — Biomaterials in agriculture, silk-based materials, and food preservation
Benedetto Marelli, Paul M. Cook Career Development Assistant Professor, MIT Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

3:00–3:15 pm: Break

3:15–5:00 pm: Laboratory Demonstration
Benedetto Marelli, Paul M. Cook Career Development Assistant Professor, MIT Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

WEDNESDAY

8:30–10:00 am: Technical — Bioengineering and biomaterials
Robert S. Langer, MIT Institute Professor, Professor of Chemical Engineering, Professor of Biological Engineering, Professor of Mechanical Engineering

10:00–10:15 am: Break

10:15 am–Noon: Technical — Advanced manufacturing and bioinspired design
Markus J. Buehler, Faculty Director
Department Head, Civil and Environmental Engineering; McAfee Professor of Engineering; Director, Laboratory for Atomistic and Molecular Mechanics

Noon–1:00 pm: Lunch

1:00–3:00 pm: Technical — Disease transmission and fluid mechanics
Lydia Bourouiba, Esther and Harold E. Edgerton Career Development Assistant Professor, MIT Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Associate Faculty, Institute for Medical Engineering and Science (IMES)

3:00–3:15 pm: Break

3:15–5:00 pm: Laboratory Demonstration — Civil and Environmental Engineering
Lydia Bourouiba, Esther and Harold E. Edgerton Career Development Assistant Professor, MIT Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Associate Faculty, Institute for Medical Engineering and Science

THURSDAY

8:30–10:30 am: Technical — Advanced materials design
Markus J. Buehler, Faculty Director

10:30–10:45 am: Break

10:45–Noon: Related Laboratory — Molecular dynamics modeling and simulation
Markus J. Buehler, Faculty Director

Noon–1:00 pm: Lunch

1:00 pm–3:00 pm: Technical — Multiplexed nanosensors for real-time monitoring of food and water contamination
Michael Strano, Carbon P. Dubbs Professor of Chemical Engineering, MIT Department of Chemical Engineering

3:00–3:15 pm: Break

3:15–5:00pm: Technical — Sustainable Agriculture
Marco Ferroni, PhD, Executive Director, Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture, Switzerland  

FRIDAY

8:30–9:30 am: Topic TBD
Dr. Sonny Ramaswamy, Administrator of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Washington DC

9:30–10:30 am: Water Savings Technologies for Food Security
Chandra Madramootoo, James McGill Professor, McGill University and MIT Abdul Latif Jameel World Water and Food Security Lab (J-WAFS)

10:30–10:45 am: Break

10:45–11:45 am: Impacts of agriculture on regional climate
Dr. Ross E. Alter, Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Eltahir Research Group, MIT

11:45–Noon: Wrap-up and award of certificates
Markus J. Buehler, Faculty Director

Noon: End of program

Course Schedule: 

This course meets 9:00 am - 5:00 pm on Monday, 8:30 am -  5:00 pm Tuesday through Thursday, and 8:30 am - Noon on Friday. There will be a course reception after class on Monday, 5:15 - 6:30 pm.

Participants’ Comments: 

Engineering Librarian, MIT

"The experience was immersive. Having all that time to learn and meet people who are working in this area provided a valuable knowledge burst. The lectures and group projects were very interesting and thought provoking. The lecturers really know what they are talking about and how to communicate it to a diverse audience."

Technologist, MIT

"What I learned was cutting edge innovative approach to solve most emerging problems."

Instructors: 

Location: 

This course takes place on the MIT campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Content: 

Fundamentals: Core concepts, understandings, and tools (35%) 35
Latest Developments: Recent advances and future trends (40%) 40
Industry Applications: Linking theory and real-world (25%) 25

Delivery Methods: 

Lecture: Delivery of material in a lecture format (70%) 70
Discussion or Groupwork: Participatory learning (10%) 10
Labs: Demonstrations, experiments, simulations (20%) 20

Levels: 

Introductory: Appropriate for a general audience (40%) 40
Specialized: Assumes experience in practice area or field (25%) 25
Advanced: In-depth explorations at the graduate level (35%) 35