College of Natural Resources, UC Berkeley

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September 30, 2010

PMB’s graduate programs ranked among the best by National Research Council Study

The National Research Council (NRC) has just released detailed rankings of doctoral programs at research universities. The new study provides rankings of two core fields for PMB, plant sciences and microbiology, that were not evaluated in prior NRC studies.

Programs were evaluated on the basis of twenty characteristics including the number and significance of research publications, financial support, graduate student qualifications and outcomes, diversity, etc. Programs were not assigned a single rank, but as falling somewhere within a range of ranks, such as between 1st and 6th, in recognition of the uncertainties that surround any attempt to rank programs by quality

Only fourteen of the 52 programs ranked at Berkeley were placed within a range that included number one in their field and Plant Sciences was among that illustrious group. Plant Sciences were ranked over all between one and five in the country.
Microbiology was placed in the range of top 10 programs.

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September 29, 2010

BEAN Environmental Career Panel

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Berkeley Environmental Alumni Network (BEAN) Environmental Career Panel, Oct. 2009. 80 students, 8 UCB alumni environmental professionals:

Christian Cermelli
Principal/ Co-founder, Marine Innovation & Technology
M.S. Naval Architecture & Offshore Engineering
PhD Naval Architecture & Offshore Engineering

David Hammond
Principal/ Co-founder, GO2 Water
M.S. Energy & Resources Group
Ph.D. Agricultural & Environmental Chemistry

Nick Harris
Co-founder/ Energy Analyst, Energy Beyond Design
B.S. Environmental Sciences

Tegan Churcher Hoffman
Principal/ Founder, T.C. Hoffmann & Associates, LLC
BS Conservation & Resource Studies
M.S. and PhD Geography

Rick Hutchinson
CEO, City Carshare
B.A. Economics and Journalism

Lauren Moreno
Life Scientist, Waste Management Division (Resource Conservation Team) U.S. EPA Region 9
B.S. Conservation and Resource Studies

Corinne Reich-Weiser
Director of Climate Services, Climate Earth
UC Berkeley PhD Candidate; Thesis Title Draft: Minimizing GHG Emissions: The Role of the Supply Chain
B.S. & M.S. Mechanical Engineering

Justin Horner
Transportation Policy Analyst, Natural Resource Defenses Council
B.A. History


Co-Hosted by: the CNR Office of Instruction & STudent Affairs, the Career Center and the Berkeley Environmental Alumni Network (BEAN)


Professor Daniel Zilberman Wins $2.1 Million NSF Grant

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Professor Daniel Zilberman of Plant & Microbial Biology has won a $2.1 million grant from the National Science Foundation to study how to develop new technologies that will increase crop yields, directly addressing the problem of hunger in our society.

In addition, the grant contains a component to attract new students to science by incorporating undergraduate students into the research program. As part of the grant, students will be recruited from UC Berkeley's Biology Scholars Program to assist in the research.

Plant seeds are made up of embryos supported by a nutritive tissue called endosperm. In cereal crops such as rice the endosperm occupies the bulk of the seed and serves as a major source of food to the world's population. Full understanding of how seeds develop is of huge significance to future crop improvement.

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ARE ranked among the best in the nation in the National Research Council Study

The National Research Council released its rankings of graduate education programs and for the first time agricultural and resource economics was a field of study ranked in the survey.

Programs were evaluated on the basis of twenty characteristics including the number and significance of research publications, financial support, graduate student qualifications and outcomes, diversity, etc. Programs were not assigned a single rank, but as falling somewhere within a range of ranks, such as between 1st and 6th, in recognition of the uncertainties that surround any attempt to rank programs by quality.

Only fourteen of the 52 programs ranked at Berkeley were placed within a range that included number one in their field and the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics graduate program was among that illustrious group. Berkeley clearly stands alone at the top among Agricultural and Resource Economics Departments. It was ranked in the regression based analysis as having a 95% confidence interval between one and three (only one other program had a ranking including 1, Ohio State at (1,6). In the survey-based Berkeley’s ranking was an unambiguous (1,1) and on the crucial research measure it similarly stood alone at the top, at (1,1).

ARE Chair Brian Wright noted that “Being the first time that NRC has ranked departments in our field, it is great to be recognized as the top program, and to be among the highest-ranked of the many excellent departments on campus, on all key criteria. A. P. Giannini, whose support set us on the road to excellence in the 1930’s, would be delighted to see that, despite all the challenges we have faced recently, we are successfully pursuing our mission eighty years on.”

CNR’s graduate programs ranked among the best in the nation by National Research Council study

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The National Research Council (NRC) has just released detailed rankings of doctoral programs at research universities. The previous NRC rankings released in 1983 and 1995 did not rank programs in any of the core fields for which CNR was evaluated in the new study – agricultural and resource economics, ecology and evolutionary biology, microbiology, nutrition, and plant sciences. CNR’s efforts in some other core fields (e.g., entomology or forestry) were not evaluated as a result of the way the NRC structured the study. Programs were evaluated on the basis of twenty characteristics including the number and significance of research publications, financial support, graduate student qualifications and outcomes, diversity, etc.

Doctoral programs evaluated in the study were not assigned a single rank, but as falling somewhere within a range of ranks, such as between 1st and 6th, in recognition of the uncertainties that surround any attempt to rank programs by quality.

The overall quality of three CNR programs—Agricultural and Resource Economics, Molecular and Biochemical Nutrition, and Plant Biology—placed them in a ranking range that included 1st place. The ranking range for Microbiology included 2nd place, and for Environmental Science, Policy, and Management 4th place.

Reflecting on these results, Dean Keith Gilless commented that, “this recognition of the strength of the college’s programs won’t come as a surprise to anyone who has spent any time watching what goes on in CNR’s laboratories or graduate seminars – but it is certainly gratifying. The NRC rankings make it clear what a special place UC Berkeley is, and how CNR contributes to its excellence. As noted in the campus’ press release, however, sustaining this kind of excellence will require us to work harder to provide the kind of competitive support packages that are needed to attract and nurture the best graduate students. In an era of declining state support, securing additional private funding will be essential to keep our programs on top.”


To learn more about how Berkeley programs fared go to:
http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2010/09/28_nrc-rankings.shtml

To see the NRC full report go to: http://www.nap.edu/rdp/

September 19, 2010

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts

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On September 17, 2010, President Barack Obama announced his intent to appoint several individuals as Members of the President's Committee on the National Medal of Science of which CNR Professor Inez Fung has a designated place.

President Obama said, “I am confident that these impressive men and women will make valued additions to this administration. I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead.”

Inez Fung, Appointee for Member, President’s Committee on the National Medal of Science

Inez Fung is a Professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of California, Berkeley, where she serves as Director of the Berkeley Institute of the Environment. Her research focuses on the interactions between climate change and biogeochemical cycles.

Dr. Fung is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a fellow of the American Geophysical Union and the American Meteorological Society, and a recipient of the Roger Revelle Medal of the American Geophysical Union. She was a contributor to the United Nations Environmental Programme’s Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change that was awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for its work.

In 2006 she received the World Technology Network Award for the Environment, and in 2005 she was named one of the “Scientific American 50”. Dr. Fung received her S.B. in 1971 and Sc.D. in 1977 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Click to read about other appointed individuals.

September 15, 2010

The Philomathia Symposium at Berkeley

By Lynn Yarris, Berkeley Lab, and Robert Sanders, UC Berkeley Media Relations

Can we emulate the ability of green plants to harness solar energy? Can we create intelligent materials, buildings and even entire communities that generate their own energy? Will a price on greenhouse gases reduce emissions? Can the technology that produced an inexpensive anti-malaria drug also be used to extract fuel from agricultural waste?
energy symposium logoPhilomathia Symposium logo

An international all-star lineup of experts in solar and biofuel energy, climate science, urban design and other areas of research critical to sustainable energy technologies will gather in Berkeley for a public symposium Oct. 1-2 to answer these and other pressing questions. The goal is to lay out the best course of action for a clean, green energy future.

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CNR Student Co-manages Recycling Program

By Wendy Edelstein, NewsCenter, UC Berkeley

Reusable objects deserve a second chance. That's the thinking behind a recently launched campus website that aims to decrease waste by helping Berkeley students, faculty, staff, and departments divest of unwanted items and find things they need.

The goal of the Exchange is to motivate people to give stuff away, rather than throw it into the garbage and add to the landfill.

The Exchange is modeled after the Freecycle Network, a global nonprofit compromising more than 4,800 local groups that facilitates materials exchange. Use of the Exchange is limited to members of the campus community and requires a berkeley.edu email address to register.

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September 13, 2010

California's climate change policy is topic of conference

By: Earl Richards Central Valley Business Times

A conference sponsored by the University of California Giannini Foundation and UC Agricultural Issues Center will pick apart California’s climate change policies as expressed in a state law called AB 32 scheduled for Oct. 4 at the California Museum, 1020 O Street, in Sacramento.

AB 32 is the target is an oil company-funded initiative on the November ballot, Proposition 23. If approved by voters, it would effectively scuttle AB 32.

At the conference, economists, analysts and executives from academia, the state government and industry will discuss the impacts of climate change and AB 32 on the California economy and the environment.

Assembly Bill 32, or the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, set the 2020 greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal into law. It directed the California Air Resources Board to begin developing ways to reduce greenhouse gases while also preparing a plan to identify how best to reach the 2020 limit.

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September 9, 2010

Every year one million acres of farmland are lost to development

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The Last Crop tells a personal tale of a family caught in the middle of a delicate interplay between urban and agricultural space in California’s Central Valley. Annie and Jeff Main own a 20-acre organic farm that serves the Sacramento/San Francisco communities. After 30 years of farming, they are finding it harder to remain viable in a rapidly changing highly competitive environment.

The evening will consist of a 20 minute screening of the film followed by a panel discussion. The panel will discuss some of the current issues of being viable and sustainable as a small scale farmer.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Pacific Film Archive
2575 Bancroft Way
Berkeley, CA

Question:
What does it take to be a viable and sustainable small scale farmer?

Moderator:
Paul Muller of Full Belly Farm & Yolo Land Trust

Panelists:
Anne and Jeff Main of Good Humus Farm
Chuck Schultz, producer/director of "The Last Crop"

Click here for more info

September 8, 2010

PMB Scientist receive corn biofuel grant

Written by: Karyn Houston

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Two UC Berkeley scientists have been awarded a 3-year grant to study how to develop strains of corn that use the leaves and stems of the plant in biofuel production.

The $793,000 grant from the Department of Energy looks at how to utilize the tons of leftover “crop residue” left behind after the kernel is used. Dr. Markus Pauly and Dr. Sarah Hake, of the Department of Plant & Microbial Biology in the College of Natural Resources, plan to focus in on the extensive genetic diversity of corn to develop more efficient strains for biofuels.

Corn is the number one feedstock used for ethanol production in the United States. However, only the starch in the kernels is currently used for fermentation to ethanol. Use of the corn kernel is in direct competition with the food and feed industry, Pauly said, and represents only 25% of the typical corn plant currently grown in the U.S.

Pauly and Hake hope to identify and develop strains of corn with higher yields of fermentable sugars that would then allow more of the plant to be used for fuel production.

Currently the U.S. generates more than 75 million dry tons of excess corn material, called “corn stover” that is essentially leftover stems and leaves. This grant aims to enhance the utility of the remaining part of the corn plant, the stem and leaves.

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Recent Posts

PMB’s graduate programs ranked among the best by National Research Council Study
BEAN Environmental Career Panel
Professor Daniel Zilberman Wins $2.1 Million NSF Grant
ARE ranked among the best in the nation in the National Research Council Study
CNR’s graduate programs ranked among the best in the nation by National Research Council study
President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts
The Philomathia Symposium at Berkeley
CNR Student Co-manages Recycling Program
California's climate change policy is topic of conference
Every year one million acres of farmland are lost to development

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