Dr. Pamela Ronald Announced as 2023 Paradigm Award Winner

Dr. Pamela Ronald Announced as 2023 Paradigm Award Winner

The Breakthrough Institute is pleased to announce Dr. Pamela Ronald as the recipient of the 2023 Paradigm Award. Dr. Ronald will accept the award at the annual Breakthrough Dialogue in Sausalito, California this June.

Each year, we bestow the Paradigm Award to recognize accomplishment and leadership in the effort to make the future secure, free, prosperous, and fulfilling for all the world’s inhabitants on an ecologically vibrant planet. Past recipients of the award are Mark Lynas, Emma Marris, Jesse Ausubel, Ruth DeFries, David MacKay, Calestous Juma, Rachel Laudan, Stewart Brand, Steve Rayner, Joyashree Roy, and Charles Kenny—all of whom have changed the way we think about the planet and its future.

Dr. Ronald is an accomplished and decorated plant geneticist whose research on stress tolerance led to the cultivation of the high-yielding Sub1 rice varieties, which are now grown by millions of farmers in South Asia. She is also co-author of the popular 2010 book Tomorrow’s Table. The book, written with her husband Raoul Adamchak, an organic farmer, describes how farmers can combine genetic engineering and organic practices to minimize the impacts and maximize the productivity of agriculture this century.

Dr. Ronald has been faculty at the University of California at Davis since 1992 and is also a faculty scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Environmental Genomics and Systems Biology division, a Key Scientist at the Joint BioEnergy Institute, and a faculty affiliate of the Center on Food Security and the Environment at Stanford University. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and was named a National Geographic Innovator, one of the world’s most influential scientific minds by Thomson Reuters, and one of the world’s 100 most influential people in biotechnology by Scientific American.

After years of benefitting from her research and counsel, Breakthrough gives this award to Dr. Ronald in recognition of her intellectual leadership in making the case for genetic engineering as a necessary contributor to global food security and environmental sustainability; her pioneering scientific achievements in the genetics and cultivation of disease-resistant rice; her admirable and extended engagement with civil society; and her extraordinary record as a science communicator. Dr. Ronald’s career exemplifies excellence not just in physical science but in science communication and ecomodernist advocacy.

The theme of this year’s Breakthrough Dialogue is “The Metabolic Rift,” a description of the gap humans have created between our own capabilities and the supposed limits imposed by natural earth system flows. Industrial-scale agriculture is the canonical example of the Metabolic Rift, and Dr. Ronald’s research is at the very cutting edge of extending human societies’ agricultural capabilities. We are delighted to celebrate her groundbreaking research and career.