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Thomas Jayne Awarded MSU Foundation Professorship

Thomas Jayne Awarded MSU Foundation Professorship

Posted: Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Author: Aaryn Richard
Category: MSU Foundation Professor

Published: April 29, 2015

Contact: Melanie Kauffman X40099

 EAST LANSING, Mich. — Thomas Jayne, Professor of Agriculture, Food and Resource Economics in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR), has been awarded the title of MSU Foundation Professor, in recognition of his exceptional contributions to research and instruction, prominence in his field and significant international impact.

“As a thought leader in agricultural economics, Thom certainly advances the university’s reputation in an area of long-term institutional excellence,” said MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon. “But more importantly, his work in Africa is making a difference in people’s lives. Thom is paving the way for a sustainable future there by helping to confront a number of ‘grand challenges.’”

“This award recognizes Professor Jayne’s many accomplishments and supports the continuation of his significant research,” said MSU Provost June Youatt. “MSU Foundation Professorships demonstrate the University’s commitment to invest in our outstanding faculty scholars.”

For more than two decades, Jayne’s research on both farm productivity and land use in Africa, have influenced numerous policies and programs there. He serves as an adjunct professor at the Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute in Lusaka, Zambia and was named a Distinguished Fellow of the African Association of Agriculture Economists in 2013. Dr. Jayne is an editorial board member of two leading journals; Food Policy and Economics Research International. He also co-directs several grants from the Gates Foundation focusing on building sustainable research capacity in Africa.

“Thom’s research on agricultural intensification in Africa has made him a renowned expert,” stated Fred Poston, dean of the College of Agricultural and Natural Resources. “There are very few conversations related to transforming Africa’s agricultural economy that don’t include Thom or cite his many publications. In addition, his mentorship of graduate students has developed other experts in this field, with many of them now holding positions at top universities.”

Jayne is highly involved with the International Food Policy Research Institute, where he works with other researchers to influence government policymakers. In advising African colleagues, he assists in developing networks and collaborations to further research.

“It is our mission to provide world-class solutions to human challenges. In Dr. Jayne, we have an MSU professor not only demonstrating excellence in research but leveraging that research to make an impact,” said Stephen Hsu, vice president for Research and Graduate Studies.

The title is bestowed by Michigan State University (MSU), with support from the MSU Foundation as part of an initiative to attract and retain top researchers critical to meeting the strategic initiatives of the university. Dr. Jayne will receive supplemental research support over five years and hold the MSU Foundation Professor designation permanently.

“It is our pleasure to support this program, which recognizes outstanding faculty and develops international distinction for the University,” stated MSU Foundation Executive Director David Washburn. “We look forward to Dr. Jayne’s continued work with much enthusiasm.”


Michigan State University has been working to advance the common good in uncommon ways for more than 150 years. One of the top research universities in the world, MSU focuses its vast resources on creating solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges, while providing life-changing opportunities to a diverse and inclusive academic community through more than 200 programs of study in 17 degree-granting colleges.

About the Michigan State University Foundation

Established in 1973 as an independent non-profit, the Michigan State University Foundation is committed to the commercialization of cutting-edge technologies invented by MSU faculty, staff, and students. The MSU Foundation’s overarching goal is to support research, innovation, and entrepreneurship at the University. Additionally, the MSU Foundation operates Spartan Innovations, Red Cedar Ventures, Michigan Rise, and the University Corporate Research Park. More information on the organization’s notable achievements, services, leadership, and history are available at