Strategic Advantage Ignite Sessions

In March 2024, we put out a call for proposals for big ideas around the College's Strategic Advantages and the use of AI. Teams and individuals are invited to participate in a mini symposium called an Ignite Session which will feature those ideas and invite collaborators. That Ignite Session will be held on April 30, 2023. Teams will then be invited to submit a proposal for seed funding (up to $50,000 for each of two years). These funding proposals will be due in September 2024.


Background: In 2019, we held a College-wide faculty meeting to engage in developing our four Strategic Themes, which resulted in the creation of a draft white paper for each theme. The College then held Town Halls to further discuss and finalize white papers surrounding each theme. In 2021, the College announced a new opportunity for faculty teams to initiate projects advancing the College’s Strategic Advantage vision which was replicated in subsequent years. A call for pre-proposals was placed and 3 - 4 proposals/teams were selected to participate in Ignite Sessions and to submit a proposal for seed funding. Each year, we ask for new teams to bring forward their ideas. You can view recordings of these sessions below.

2024 Strategic Advantage Ignite Session


April 30th, 2024 3:30 PM

MU 109 or Zoom

Using Computer Vision and Machine Learning to Identify and Separate Weed Seeds from Grass Seed

Contact: Dan Curry, Crop and Soil Science


A Case for Establishing a University-Wide Platform for Sustainability

Contact: Sam Bell, Sustainability Double Degree Program


Building an AI-Powered Consumer Education Platform to Support Sustainable Food Choices

Contact: Jung Kwon, Food Science and Technology


Integrating AI into the AgBiz Logic Online Decision Tool to Assist Producers in Solving Economic, Financial, and Environmental Problems

Contact: Clark Seavert, Applied Economics



Connecting High Throughput Phenotyping, Machine Learning, and Genomics to Breed for Climate Adaptation

Contact: Ryan Contreras, Horticulture


How Can We Use Generative AI and Custom Chatbots (GPTs) to Help Members of the Public Translate Agricultural and Horticultural Research?

Contact: Leslie Madsen, Horticulture / Extension Master Gardener Program


Use of Fourier Transformed Infrared System and Artificial Intelligence to Assess the Health of Animals

Contact: Massimo Bionaz, Animal and Rangeland Sciences


Increasing Efficiency in Fruit Packing with Deep Learning & Robotics

Contact: Brian Pearson, Mid-Columbia Agricultural Research and Extension Center



2023 Strategic Advantage Bold New Ideas Ignite Sessions


GIS Focused Technology for Advancing Agriculture in Oregon


May 9th at 3:00 – 4:00 PM

Contact: Pete Berry, Crop and Soil Science

GIS in agriculture is dominated by the private sector and focuses on large acreage row crop systems.  Establishing a unified team across departments and programs to collect, process, and analyze agricultural GIS data is needed for the purpose of creating a systematic approach to agricultural success in the specialty crops of Oregon.  The intent of the project is to utilize agronomic and pest expertise to operate current or create new sensor technology for pest specific identification and applications.




Unlocking the Full Potential of Seaweed as a Sustainable and Multi-Functional Commodity


May 16th at 2:00 – 3:00 PM

Contact: James Fox, Microbiology

Seaweed has shown promise as a blue carbon sink, alternative protein source, livestock feed supplement, biofuel, and more. However, to realize this potential a cost-effective and scalable method for cultivating high-value seaweed products is needed. This project will develop a Recirculating Aquaculture System for the controlled cultivation of seaweed, conduct pilot studies to explore potential uses of the product, and partner with other OSU faculty to assess the economic and environmental feasibility of expanding this approach regionally and globally. Moreover, we will examine the socio-economic implications of establishing large-scale seaweed farms within and beyond the US.



Multifunctional Spray for Smart Sustainable Agricultural Production


May 17th at 2:00 – 3:00 PM

Contact: Qingyang Wang, Food Science and Technology


The challenges in modern agriculture such as crop diseases, extreme weather, and contamination have spurred interest in Smart Sustainable Agricultural Production (SSAP), which is the use of advanced technologies, innovative management practices, and sustainable methods for efficient and environmentally friendly food production. Our interdisciplinary work aims to develop a novel, multifunctional spray for integrated crop management aligned with SSAP principles to address plant diseases, weed management, and heat injury prevention. The spray will be based on natural, biodegradable formulations incorporating photodynamic inactivation (PDI) chemistries, a light-based technique for cell inactivation through oxidative processes. 



2022 Strategic Advantage Bold New Idea Ignite Sessions

Building Climate Resilience and Competitiveness Through-System Level Water Management


April 8th 10:30 AM - Noon

Contact: Salini Sasidharan, Biological and Ecological Engineering


Unpredictable water availability is one of the biggest challenges of the twenty-first century. Extreme weather events are increasingly common, causing longer-lasting droughts, catastrophic flooding, and high-water vulnerability. Therefore, inclusive and robust water conservation practices and climate-resilient agricultural technologies are critical for agricultural, environmental, economic, and societal sustainability. Our work aims to integrate system-based teams to develop adaptive solutions for mitigating the water crisis through holistic and harmonized water conservation and optimization strategies that support resilient, competitive, and sustainable agricultural production systems and communities in the long term.



Working floodplains as natural infrastructure: Strategic management of ecosystem services in floodplains


April 11th 9:00 - 10:30 AM

Contact: Desiree Tullos, Biological and Ecological Engineering


Floodplains are critical to human development, but their management has lacked a cohesive strategy.  Many floodplains have been extensively modified to accommodate urban development and agricultural production with associated losses in critically important ecosystem services.  Our work will focus on developing a framework for comprehensive assessment of ecosystem services in floodplains, and evaluating its transferability across ecosystems and stakeholders in Oregon and beyond.





Automated approaches to the monitoring and analysis of plant-insect interactions


April 21st 9:00 - 10:30 AM

Contact: Tim Warren, Horticulture


Insects are small and move quickly, making them easy to overlook and challenging to study. Yet they play a crucial, multifaceted role in determining crop viability and yield. Advances in instrumentation and deep learning provide an extraordinary opportunity to automate the study of plant-insect interactions. We will integrate flexible, field-deployable computers with machine learning analysis methods to study how insects move and which crops they target. Our work will address vexing questions in crop science, pest management, dispersal ecology, and pollination biology. Moreover, it will establish a generalizable data collection and analysis framework to support broad conservation and agricultural goals.



2021 Strategic Advantage Ignite Sessions

Innovation Hub for Sustainable Food Manufacturing


May 11th 2-3:30 pm

Contacts: Sheri Cole and Yanyun Zhao, Food Science and Technology

The Innovation Hub for Sustainable Food Manufacturing is envisioned to be an OSU collective that drives sustainable innovations throughout the entire food manufacturing value chain.  The HUB will leverage existing OSU resources and catalyze innovations for solving important challenges such as reducing food loss and waste, conserving natural resources, ensuring food safety and quality, promoting human health and wellbeing, and minimizing and valorizing waste and food byproducts in food manufacturing.

Recorded Session

A Trans-disciplinary Big Data Extension and Research Center


May 27th 9:30-11:00 am

Contact: Jeff Chang, Botany and Plant Pathology

The OSU Plant Clinic will be transformed into a trans-disciplinary big data center that enables use of whole genome sequencing for diagnosing pathogens in real time to advance current missions, add new missions in research and teaching, and expand to different systems (pollinators) and stakeholder groups across Oregon.  This center will be the first to leverage whole genome sequencing for managing diseases in plants and their pollinators.

Recorded Session

Microbiome-Mediated Genetic Resistance to Plant Biotic and Abiotic Stresses


June 2nd 1:30-3:00 pm

Contacts: Chris Mundt and Posy Busby, Botany and Plant Pathology

Our hypothesis is that multiple biotic and abiotic plant stresses can be ameliorated simultaneously through deployment of microbiome-mediated plant genetic resistance.  This transformative approach would contribute to increased productivity, as well as sustainability, of production through protection against biotic and abiotic stresses associated with climate change, invasions of new pests, and other cataclysmic events.

Recorded Session

Socio-economic Resilience in Concert with Biological Innovation


June 3rd: 9:00-10:30 am

Contact: Michael Banks, COMES -Newport

The pace of climate change poses new challenges to marine organisms, ocean ecosystems, dependent coastal communities and social and political institutions that structure our collective socio-economic resilience.  Yet biological innovation represents both the greatest source of resilience and greatest source of uncertainty in how natural and managed systems will respond to rapid climate change.  Our project will develop and test long read RNA sequencing methods that retain phase and epi-genetic signals and apply machine learning analytical approaches to identify key innovations that reflect response to change.  Our goals are to 1) advance the science of identifying biological innovations through capture of information from transcription to movement to ecological and evolutionary trajectories, and 2) integrate how findings in biological and socio-economic innovation may foster resilience of the Anthropocene.

Recorded Session

2020 Four Themes Virtual Town Hall Sessions

Coastal Food Systems and Conservation

November 16th 3:30-5:00 pm

Recorded Session White Paper Comments

Food Innovation for Health, Markets and Access

December 7th 9:00-10:30 am

Recorded Session White Paper Comments

Working and Natural Landscapes

December 16th 1:30-3:00 pm

Recorded Session White Paper Comments

Agricultural Competitiveness and Resilience

December 17th 2:00-3:30 pm

Recorded Session White Paper Comments