The Nitrogen Kick-Off meeting was held in San Francisco, February 27-March 1, 2014. Devaki Bhaya of the Carnegie Institution was the local host for the event. The meeting was jointly funded by the NSF (US) and BBSRC (UK), with the long term vision of addressing the challenge of providing nitrogen to meet the growing global demand for food.
The initial goal of the Nitrogen Ideas lab, held in Crewe, U.K., in December 2012 was to provide a forum for researchers from multiple disciplines to generate innovative projects to address the challenge of reducing nitrogen fertilizer input to non-leguminous crops without yield loss. Following the Ideas lab, four groups were funded and in the NSF press release John Wingfield, NSF's assistant director for Biological Sciences stated that "The reliance of artificial nitrogen fertilizers for food crop production and their damaging environmental effects are in many ways underestimated. Fortunately, there are scientists paying attention to how these artificial fertilizers can be replaced by abundant atmospheric nitrogen.”
The Kickoff meeting in San Francisco hosted about forty participants which included principal investigators, post-doctoral associates and graduate students from the four interdisciplinary and international research teams. Representatives of funding agencies and mentors also attended the presentations and discussions. As Bhaya put it “It was a lot of work putting together the meeting, but it was well worth it, because getting to know colleagues and starting scientific dialog is the first important step towards successful collaborations.”