Development spotlight: PepsiCo

On June 9th, CFANS hosted leaders from PepsiCo to discuss the recent research collaboration between the University of Minnesota and PepsiCo. This has inaugurated a new model for the University of Minnesota and CFANS to explore opportunities for academic institutions and food companies working together.

The event provided an opportunity to learn more about the vision of University of Minnesota and PepsiCo, better understand the opportunities for research collaborations, and meet those leading the effort. 

The featured speakers at the event were Dr. Brian Herman, University of Minnesota Vice President for Research, and Dr. Mehmood Khan, PepsiCo Vice Chairman and Chief Scientific Officer.  Together they discussed this cooperation and crucial challenges facing food and crop scientists. 

Dr. Khan, named recently by Fast Company magazine as one of the “100 Most Creative People in Business,” is a compelling and much-in-demand speaker.  Dr. Khan has been widely lauded for his innovative approach to research and development and recently gave a Ted Talk about the global challenge of feeding a growing population with nourishing food.

One of the first projects University of Minnesota and PepsiCo researchers are collaborating on is an effort to invigorate oat production for food use in the Midwest.  Working together, researchers from PepsiCo and CFANS will investigate strategies to develop novel platforms designed to diversify crops, increase farm profitability from small grains, and ultimately deliver better, bigger yields of high-quality and nutritious oats.  Graduate students will play a major role in this effort, giving them valuable experience in a mixed academic/industrial research environment.

To learn more about opportunities to support CFANS research, visit the Give to CFANS webpage or contact Mark Sorenson-Wagner (wagnerme@umn.edu).