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Endowment funds sustainable development chair

January 22, 2009

Media Contact: Dr. Tom Rufty, Bayer CropScience Professor of Sustainable Development, North Carolina State University, 919.515.3660 or

Bayer CropScience has created a $1 million endowment at North Carolina State University that will fund a chair of sustainable development.

The creation of the endowment and the chair were announced Thursday, Jan. 22, during a conference at N.C. State entitled "Stewards of the Future: Research for Global Sustainability." The day-long conference, hosted by the N.C. Agricultural and Life Sciences Research Foundation at N.C. State, focused on the importance of research in addressing society's challenges, particularly within the context of global sustainability.

During the conference, Bayer and university officials announced that Dr. Tom Rufty will hold the chair the endowment makes possible. Rufty becomes the first Bayer CropScience Professor of Sustainable Development.

Rufty is co-director of the Center for Turfgrass Environmental Research and Education at NC State and a professor of environmental plant physiology in the Department of Crop Science. His research focuses on environmental plant physiology and topics such as how plants and plant communities obtain nutrients and other resources and how plants respond to environmental stress. Much of Rufty's research involves the development and assessment of management systems for growing and maintaining turfgrasses that have lower inputs and minimal negative impacts on the environment.

"We are honored to have Bayer CropScience as a partner in our research efforts to find solutions to the complex problems that issues like global climate change, population growth, and food and water shortages present," said Dean Johnny Wynne of the N.C. State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The chair will be in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

"We cannot achieve our goals alone. That is why the research expertise of North Carolina State makes the university an ideal partner," said Pascal Housset, Bayer president and chief executive officer. "It is within our power to achieve great success for our company while effecting critical change that will benefit society as a whole. It is simply essential to protect the world in which we live and work. Together with the university, we will take great strides in that direction."

As the new professor of sustainable development, Rufty will be involved in furthering a long-standing collaboration between N.C. State and Bayer on environmental projects.

Current collaborative efforts between N.C. State and Bayer include studies relating to managing carbon sequestration in trees and turfgrass, biodiversity surveys and research into improving plant health to better manage environmental and insect-related stress.

Bayer CropScience, which is headquartered in Research Triangle Park, makes products for agriculture.

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Posted by Dave at January 22, 2009 01:30 PM