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International Entomologists Gather in Orlando to Take on Grand Challenges

Dr. Fred Gould at the “International Entomology Leadership Summit: Improving the Human Condition through Insect Science.”

More than 175 international insect-science leaders and others involved with agriculture and public health met recently in Orlando, Florida to take part in the “International Entomology Leadership Summit: Improving the Human Condition through Insect Science.”

The goal was to engage and empower worldwide entities to take on Grand Challenges we face in the coming decades to which entomology can make a unique and powerful contribution.

The three main challenge areas were found to involve sustainable agriculture, invasive insect species, and public health related to vector-borne diseases such as Zika and dengue.

Key speakers included Dr. May Berenbaum, president of the Entomological Society of America; Dr. Sonny Ramaswamy, director of the USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture; Dr. Fred Gould, a university distinguished professor of entomology at North Carolina State University; and Dr. Dan Strickman, senior program officer for vector control at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, among others.

“Entomology is the most important discipline that most people have never heard of,” said David Gammel, executive director of the Entomological Society of America. “This initiative represents a paradigm shift, enabling members of the scientific community to become proactive partners in leading solutions to global problems.”

Among the key findings of the Summit were the need to engage the global community of stakeholders that are able to quickly respond to existing and emerging issues, establish an infrastructure that is proactive rather than reactive, increase the number of entomologists in high-ranking government positions, support young investigators and encourage new training, provide resources to educators, and to convince the general public that science is a force for good in our lives.

To read more about the Grand Challenge Agenda for Entomology, visit

To read more about the first Grand Challenges “Summit on the Aedes aegypti Crisis in the Americas,” which was held in March 2016 in Maceió, Alagoas, Brazil, please visit

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