Rahul Raman, a doctoral student under Dr. Nithya Rajan, has been selected as one of 18 graduate students nationwide to receive the 2020 Future Leaders in Science Award. The award will be formally presented March 2, 2020, in Washington D.C..
The award includes a trip to participate in the annual Congressional Visits Day, hosted by the Agronomy Society of America (ASA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA) and Soil Science Society of America (SSSA), on March 3.
During the visit, the participants will meet with members of Congress and advocate for food, agriculture and natural resources research.
Last fall, Raman and two other Texas A&M students were selected to participate in the Scientists Engaging and Educating Decisionmakers (SEED) ambassador program.
“My previous experiences as a Climate Science Advocate in Washington D.C. and as a SEED Ambassador will help me to discuss the gaps between science and policy effectively, and to help come up with ideas to merge that gap,” Raman said. “My intent towards this award was to get connected with policy-makers, understand the congressional legislative process, and then work with them on issues related to agricultural research and funding.”
After completing his Ph.D., Raman plans to return to India and work toward global food security with an international agency such as CGIAR/UN.
“For global food security, research is important,” Raman said. “But better policies and funding towards research are also important to achieve this goal.”
In many African and Asian countries, including India, food security is an issue. Raman believes that involvement with policy makers in the United States will help him better understand the processes and policies of other countries and organizations as well.
“My science advocacy experiences will help me to better communicate my work to policy-makers back in India, and to plan accordingly for the resources I will need to conduct my work,” Raman said.