Discovery and Design

To feed a pipeline of innovations for the challenges of 2030 and beyond, CIDA will pursue discovery and design across the interconnected scales of food systems. The development of hardware, from nano- to macro-scales, for plant- and animal-specific monitoring and automated intervention, will provide unprecedented data streams to elucidate physiological, ecological and socioeconomic phenomena on the farm and beyond. This pipeline of new insights and models will feed back into our systems analytics and digital innovations cores to form a foundation for the efficient, inclusive and sustainable management of the agricultural systems of tomorrow.


  • Discover the biology that connects genotype to phenotype in complex managed environments.
  • Exploit new data streams to advance genetics, phenology and breeding for health, pathogen resistance, stress mitigation and local adaptation.
  • Develop and deploy micro-, nano-, and molecular technologies for the transmission of biological information from organisms to computing systems in real time.


  • Develop systems models and design tools that couple genetics, development, physiology and management to biotic and abiotic stresses with accounting for ecosystem-scale interactions.
  • Provide robust predictions that allow for design and optimization in uncertain production environments.
  • Accelerate the development of climate-ready varieties and adaptation techniques.
  • Specify the performance of conservation practices in heterogeneous environments to enhance the cost-effectiveness of interventions to protect soil, water, biodiversity and climate.