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The 2020 World Food Prize winner, Professor Rattan Lal of Ohio State University (OSU), will be giving the first John Innes Foundation Lecture for the NISD.

Registration open to all.

Lecture outline

Soils are the foundation of our terrestrial food system. Healthy soils can also play an essential role in mitigating and adapting to the impacts of climate change. However, for a long time now, many soils have been degraded, contaminated, and depleted of nutrients.

We need a better approach to managing soils that is environmentally sustainable and regenerative – an approach which can provide healthy food for our growing human population. This requires us to align the economic needs of farmers and consumers, promote biodiversity below and above the soil, and optimise soil carbon sequestration.

With 2021 seeing both the UN Food Systems Summit and the COP26 Climate Conference, this year represents a crucial opportunity to effect change by bringing the best of scientific knowledge into global agricultural policies and practices.

For this inaugural John Innes Foundation Annual Lecture, the NISD is delighted to host World Food Prize winner of 2020, Professor Rattan Lal.

Professor Lal will discuss the major global challenges of the 21st Century: climate change, food insecurity and environmental degradation. He will lead reflection and discussions on those solutions and support mechanisms that will empower farmers to change their management practices and provide incentives for nature-positive agricultural systems.


Dr. Lal serves as Distinguished University Professor of Soil Science and founding Director of the Carbon Management & Sequestration Center at The Ohio State University (OSU). From his humble beginnings as a refugee growing up on a small subsistence farm in India, his determination to learn and succeed in school propelled him to become one of the world’s foremost soil scientists. His pioneering research on the restoration of soil health in Africa, Asia and Latin America led to revelations that impacted agricultural yields, natural resource conservation and climate change mitigation. The agricultural practices Lal advocated are now at the heart of efforts to improve agriculture systems in the tropics and globally.

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