UC Davis Lifetime Achievement Award for Innovation: Gurdev Khush

Gurdev Khush, a world-renowned plant geneticist, is the recipient of the UC Davis Lifetime Achievement Award for Innovation for his truly extraordinary leadership in developing rice strains that have enhanced the quality and quantity of global rice supplies. The award recognizes an acknowledged innovator whose career accomplishments include innovations that have led to a long-term positive impact on the lives of others and who is an inspiring influence for other innovators.

Khush is known one of the heroes of the Green Revolution, a movement that sought to significantly increase agricultural yields, particularly in developing countries.

Plant geneticist Gurdev Khush has developed new strains of rice, enhancing global food production.

Khush earned a B.Sc. from Punjab Agricultural University in India and a Ph.D. from UC Davis. He played a key role in the development of more than 300 innovative rice varieties. One of these, IR36, is the most widely planted food crop ever grown. He spent over 30 years at the International Rice Research Institute, or IRRI, directing and participating in both genetic research and the delivery of rice varieties to underserved populations around the globe.

Owing in large part to Khush’s contribution, world rice production increased from 257 million tons in 1966 to 718 million tons in 2011. Khush has won numerous international awards — including the World Food Prize — and has received honorary doctorates and degrees from multiple universities. After he retired from IRRI in 2002, Khush returned to UC Davis as an adjunct professor in the Department of Plant Sciences, and is now an emeritus. Khush is also the recipient of the 2018 UC Davis Medal, given to those who have made exceptional and sustained contributions to the UC Davis community and beyond.

About the award

Established in 2016, the awards recognize faculty, community partners and industry leaders for their work, dedication and success in improving the lives of others and addressing the needs of our global society either through innovations in technology or innovative societal engagement.

“These honorees reflect the growing importance of UC Davis as an incubator and promoter of innovation, not just in the Sacramento region, but in the world,” said Provost Ralph J. Hexter. “They are groundbreakers in finding new ways to feed the world, build community and develop technology that creates a better tomorrow for all.”

The university’s Venture Catalyst team manages the Chancellor’s Innovation Awards as part of its broader mission to enable innovative students, faculty and staff to engage effectively with the innovation community both within and outside the university. “Recognizing our campus innovators and celebrating how their research and innovative university activities positively impact society is one of the ways in which we are supporting a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship at UC Davis,” said Dushyant Pathak, associate vice chancellor of research and the executive director of Venture Catalyst within the UC Davis

(Article by Lisa Howard, Office of Research, UC Davis)

Read more about Gurdev Khush:

  • Gurdev Khush to be Honored with UC Davis Medal; news blog, May 2018
  • Seed World Salutes Kent Bradford and Gurdev Khush; news blog, 2016
  • New Archive: Resources on California’s Punjabi American Community; news blog, 2016

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