SAFES shortens the distance between science and practice by actively connecting biophysical scientists with sociologists, communication scientists and educators. This work is led by the Agriculture and Environment Center through a shared discovery engagement process.

Shared Discovery

The complex nature of the problems facing the science of agricultural sustainability requires a heterogeneous approach that blurs the distinction between disciplinary boundaries but also expands beyond the walls of the academic institution. By embracing a transdisciplinary perspective of research, institute members build relationships with essential partners within and beyond the university, learning from one another and strengthening the projects from conception to implementation.

The shared discovery outreach process is fundamentally also an educational endeavor that contributes to understandings from multiple perspectives. Out of the iterative process that combines expertise from the field, the lab, industry, and the government come the research findings and the potential solutions, and the delivery mechanisms for this information require inventive strategies for encouraging adoption and implementation. An important partner in this effort is Penn State Extension and the cadre of Extension Educators devoted to issues of agricultural sustainability. Leveraging the community-centric relationships helps to strengthen the collaborations of faculty researchers by infusing the science-to-practice model with crucial, on-the-ground input from conception through development and application.

Agriculture and Environment Center (AEC)

The Penn State Agriculture and Environment Center (AEC) is focused on solving today's water quality challenges related to the impacts of land use and land management.