Alison Bentley earned the 2023 Borlaug CAST Communication Award from the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) for her work raising awareness about the importance of wheat as a food crop.
Bentley, director of the Global Wheat Program at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), was lauded by CAST for her “passion for delivering practical applications from innovation to farmers, extensive reach through communicating and influencing, and mentoring and support of individuals and community efforts.”
The annual CAST Communication Award recognizes outstanding achievement by a scientist, engineer, technologist, or other professional working in the agricultural, environmental, or food sectors for contributing to the advancement of science through communication in the public policy arena.
CAST recognized the extensive breadth of outreach deployed by Bentley, ranging from classic science presentations and open access articles to blogs, podcasts, YouTube videos and Twitter campaigns. According to CAST, Bentley focused her communication efforts around the impacts of the Russian/Ukraine war on global wheat production and by initiating and leading the Women in Crop Science network.
At the BGRI’s 2022 Virtual Technical Workshop, Bentley gave the keynote “Wheat in Fields of War – Conflict and Vulnerability in Global Food Systems” which called for urgent and sustained effort to mitigate food security effects in the short term and long-term efforts to achieve an equitable collective global grain store.
The Women in Crop Science network at CIMMYT, which Bentley launched and leads, works to achieve a more inclusive environment at CIMMYT. The network addresses key issues such as the promotion and championing of females throughout their research careers, creating equal opportunities, and increasing visibility of members.
“The BGRI is proud of Alison’s achievements as a communicator and a scientist, and this award is a recognition of her outstanding work making wheat science accessible and relevant in the world. Alison is shaping the conversation in new and powerful ways, leading to huge social and scientific impacts that are felt today and will be felt by future generations,” said Maricelis Acevedo, associate director for science for the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative and research professor at Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
The official presentation of the CAST Award will take place at a special side event during the World Food Prize Borlaug Dialogue event in Des Moines, Iowa, in October. The Borlaug CAST Communication Award honors the legacy of Dr. Norman Borlaug, a Nobel Prize winner and author of the first CAST publication, and Dr. Charles A. Black, the first executive vice president of CAST.