Biotech Updates

2016 Borlaug CAST Communication Award Goes to Dr. Kevin Folta

October 19, 2016

The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) bestowed the 2016 Borlaug CAST Communication Award to Dr. Kevin Folta, Chair of the Horticultural Sciences Department at the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Through the annual award, CAST recognizes science or agriculture experts who demonstrate an exemplary ability to communicate through various forms of media. Dr. Folta is known for his efforts to educate students and the public about science, especially about facts on agricultural biotechnology. He has been previously honored with the National Science Foundation CAREER Award, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Award for undergraduate mentoring, and the University of Florida Research Foundation Award.

Aside from his wide following and a constant engagement in the social media, Dr. Folta also maintains a blog (Illumination), which covers recent events at the interface between society and science, and a weekly podcast (Talking Biotech) which discusses genetic improvements in agriculture and medicine. He developed a communication workshop that trains scientists how to properly engage a skeptical public.

During the awarding on October 12, 2016 in Iowa, Dr. Folta delivered a memorable keynote address where he stated that scientists must explain the evidence-based risks and benefits of agricultural biotechnology, which can be tough to do in an age of misinformation. "Lead with your ethics—facts by themselves won't work…We need to listen, explain, and gain their trust by developing a shared understanding," stressed Dr. Folta.


For more details, read the media release from CAST.