The nexus of food, energy and water is a significant research strength at OSU not only because of its history as a land-grant university, but also due to the scope of interdisciplinary investigation underway involving many key FEW elements. Below are brief highlights of Food-Energy-Water research expertise and assets at OSU.
Faculty members whose work involve some aspect of Food-Energy-Water number nearly 25, as well as those from other colleges who collaborate with faculty in nearly every CEAT department. These scientists and engineers are recognized for their investigations and development of products and services in areas such as water quality, and alternative energy and energy production. Their leadership can be measured both as campus leaders in the Food-Energy-Water disciplines and through publications and funding of research in the field.
Programs in nutritional sciences at the College of Human Sciences include nearly a dozen researchers examing topics including food and human nutrition, bioactive compounds, nutrient deficiencies, and food safety. Some of the nation’s top researchers in nutritional science are working at OSU.
As the state’s largest agriculture and natural resources research institution, OSU's DASNR fields more than 75 scientists and engineers studying a multitude of topics within the Food-Energy-Water nexus. Researchers in agriculture economics, plant and soil sciences, value-added food product development, biosystems and agricultural engineering, animal sciences and other departments are working to: develop crop production systems for a changing environment; increase the sustainability of food production; develop improved crop varieties to improve nutrition and adaptation to changing climatic conditions; improve food safety and distribution; use agricultural products to generate bioenergy; protect natural resources including water, and many other areas.
Among a myriad of research labs and centers of study, DASNR is home to the state’s leading interdisciplinary and multi-institutional water research group, the Oklahoma Water Resources Center, the nation’s first center for the study of food safety and security, the National Institute for Microbial Forensics and Food and Agricultural Biosecurity, the Biobased Products and Energy Center, including a laboratory studying conversion of plant and waste material into biofuels and electricity, and the Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Center for applied agricultural products research, food manufacturing and food safety training and applied food safety research. Additionally, DASNR oversees 20 experiment stations (operated by the Field and Research Unit) that cover the entire state and its extremely diverse eco-regions.
Hosting the university's greatest diversity of disciplines, the College of Arts and Sciences is home to more than two dozen scientists and scholars who work in the natural sciences, social and behavioral sciences, and the humanities to make possible greater understanding of issues affecting Food-Energy-Water. With disciplines as varied as chemistry, integrative biology, physics, sociology, psychology, microbiology and molecular genetics, computer science, and history, much of the research crosses disciplinary and college lines and touches on all FEW areas central to understanding the concept of sustainability and interconnectedness.
Staff and faculty at the OSU Library provide expertise and resources to help researchers use the library’s many collections and assets. Assistance is available in searching documents, journals and books, and visual and oral histories of topics within the Food-Energy-Water concept. Library areas of interest available for researchinclude histories of food production and safety, water resources, education, government records and reports and others.