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Food + Ag Entrepreneurship Academy

The Food + Ag Entrepreneurship Academy is the premier academic program for commercializing innovations in food and agriculture. It is a springboard for moving research out of the lab and into the world.

The academy combines focused lectures, practical exercises, networking sessions and hands-on experiences in an innovative format to help you explore how your research can make a broader impact in industry, the marketplace and the world. You’ll learn to identify market needs and opportunities, develop a network of experts to support your venture—and create agriculture ‘food chain’ clusters of innovation.

Co-sponsored by the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the World Food Center in collaboration with the Innovation Institute for Food and Health and the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, the academy is taught by investors, entrepreneurs, university faculty, and industry experts who serve as mentors and guest speakers. You’ll gain the knowledge and networks needed to develop the commercial potential of your research or idea.

The academy includes:

  • An intensive opportunity to explore the market opportunities surrounding your ideas and your research.
  • Daily seminars and interactive sessions taught by leading investors, industry executives and entrepreneurs.
  • The tools to communicate the broader potential of your research.
  • Evening mentoring sessions with industry executives and investors.

2017 Program Schedule
2017 Program Flier

DEADLINE TO APPLY: Thursday, February 2, 2018

Keynote Speaker

Noah Alper - Noah Alper ConsultingNoah Alper– Noah Alper Consulting; Founder, Noah’s Bagels

Featured Speakers

Cristina Davis - ProfessorCristina Davis – Professor, UC Davis Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Andrew Hargadon - ProfessorAndrew Hargadon – Faculty Director, UC Davis Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Cleveland Justis - Executive Director, Child Family Institute for Innovation & EntrepreneurshipCleveland Justis – Executive Director, UC Davis Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Ashish Malik - President and CEO, Bee Vectoring Technologies, InternationalAshish Malik – President and CEO, Bee Vectoring Technologies, International

Pam Marrone - CEO, Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc.Pam Marrone–Founder and CEO, Marrone Bio Innovations

Poornima Parameswaran - Co-Founder, Trace Genomics, Inc.Poornima Parameswaran – Co-Founder, Trace Genomics Inc.

Tom Tomich - Professor and Director, UC Davis Agricultural Sustainability InstituteTom Tomich – Professor and Director, UC Davis Agricultural Sustainability Institute

Scott Pink - DLA PiperScott Pink – Special Counsel, DLA Piper

Melissa Tilney - AgFunderMelissa Tilney – Co-Founder, AgFunder

Jeremy Warren - AstRoNA BiotechnologiesJeremy Warren – President and CEO, AstRoNA Biotechnologies

Eric O'Brien - Fall Line CapitalEric O’Brien – Co-Founder and Managing Director, Fall Line Capital

Manuel Gonzalez - RabobankManuel Gonzalez – North America Head of Start-Up Innovation, Rabobank

Josette Lewis - UC Davis World Food CenterJosette Lewis – Associate Director, UC Davis World Food Center

Joe Koepnick – Associate Director, New Venture Resources, UC Davis Venture Catalyst

Hank Giclas - Western Growers AssociationHank Giclas – SVP— Science, Technology & Strategic Planning, Western Growers Association

Dan Phillips - SandboxDan Phillips – Managing Director, Sandbox Industries and Cultivian Sandbox Ventures

Speakers are added as they are confirmed.

How to Apply

The academy is open to upper-division undergrads, graduate students (master’s and doctoral), postdocs and faculty in science and engineering. It is open to applicants from any university as well as interested applicants with no university affiliation. Priority registration is given to UC-affiliated participants.

To obtain maximum benefit from the program curriculum, participants are encouraged to attend all three full days of the academy.

DEADLINE TO APPLY: Thursday, February 2, 2018

Registration Fees

$250: California university/college students and faculty.
$500: Out-of-state university/college students and faculty.
$1,500: Participants with no university affiliation.

Registration fee includes course, materials and dining. Payment due upon acceptance to the program. This fee does NOT include lodging, transportation or parking fees, which are the responsibility of the participant.

Scholarship Aid

There are a limited number of scholarships available for interested UC Davis participants. Please indicate on the application form or email Niki Peterson for more information.

Fellowship Aid
Keller Pathway Fellowship

Through the generous support of Barry and Lynda Keller, we recently launched the Keller Pathways Fellowship Program. Selected fellows attend the academy free of charge as the first step in a year-long affiliation with our institute. Read more >

To be considered for a fellowship, please indicate “Yes” where indicated on the application form.

Location, Dates and Travel Information

The 2018 academy is held Monday-Wednesday, February 6–8 at the Walter A. Buehler Alumni Center on the UC Davis main campus.

Coffee/tea, lunch and dinner are provided daily. Lodging, transportation and parking fees are the responsibility of the participant.

We recommend the following nearby hotels:

Call for Mentors

An integral part of the academy experience is the opportunity for participants to engage with industry professionals over two evenings. If you are interested in serving as a mentor for academy participants during one or both mentoring sessions, please sign up below:

Apply to be a mentor >

Past Keynote Speakers

The 2016 academy keynote titled ”Reimagining the Future of Ag, Money and the Planet“  featured Kat Taylor, founding director of TomKat Ranch Educational Foundation.

Food and Ag Entrepreneurship Academy

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