Global stakeholders convene to discuss progress on early research by MSU-based Fish Innovation Lab

Contact: Kristen Dechert

Mark Lawrence (Photo by Tom Thompson)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—The international Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Fish held its first virtual platform meeting for global partners in March when lab leaders, country coordinators, and grant recipients convened to discuss progress and learning outcomes for current research projects.

Funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and led by Mississippi State University, the Fish Innovation Lab implements integrated research and capacity-development activities to help developing countries maximize fish as a global resource that can enhance the health and economic growth of their people. Through these efforts, the lab will fund approximately $7.5 million in research grants over the next five years to researchers working with small-scale producers in Feed the Future focus countries.

“One of the most rewarding parts of the new Fish Innovation Lab at Mississippi State University has been getting to know outstanding researchers in aquaculture and fisheries in the U.S. and around the world,” said Mark Lawrence, director of the lab and professor at Mississippi State. “This meeting was a great way to get our project started and begin building teamwork.”

Five “Quick Start” projects were awarded last year, and representatives from these were the majority of attendees at the virtual platform meeting. Meeting attendees represented 15 public, private, and nongovernmental organizations in Bangladesh, Kenya, Nigeria, Zambia, and the U.S.  

“In Bangladesh, we are planning to conduct research on a diverse range of aquaculture, fisheries, and related socioeconomic programs,” said Gulam Hussain, who serves as the Fish Innovation Lab country coordinator for Bangladesh and has been named a key expert in fisheries and aquaculture for the European Union–Bangladesh Joint Collaboration on Blue Economy project. “[The virtual platform meeting] lets the large group of researchers discuss lessons learned and hear from other partners about successful implementation that could benefit hundreds and thousands of resource-poor fish farmers and target groups.”

In the first major convening since the Fish Innovation Lab was awarded to Mississippi State last September, participants spent time thinking broadly about their desired outcomes and discussing how best to communicate their findings to the broader research community and policymakers.

“The Fish Innovation Lab has teams of scientists already on the ground working in Nigeria, Bangladesh, Zambia, and Kenya to improve nutritional and livelihood outcomes from aquaculture and fisheries, and we anticipate great results from this research,” Lawrence said.

Quick Start recipients and other representatives from future projects will meet quarterly to discuss findings, progress toward goals, and realignment of mission, in addition to meeting yearly in person in one of the focus countries.

For more information about the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Fish, please visit or contact Shauncey Hill, program manager, at

USAID is the lead U.S. Government agency for international development and humanitarian efforts to save lives, reduce poverty, strengthen democratic governance and help people progress beyond assistance.

About Feed the Future
Feed the Future is the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative. With a focus on smallholder farmers, particularly women, Feed the Future supports partner countries in developing their agriculture sectors to spur economic growth and trade that increase incomes and reduce hunger, poverty and undernutrition. For more information, visit

About the Fish Innovation Lab
Funded by the USAID, the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Fish at Mississippi State University aims to reduce poverty and improve nutrition, food security, and livelihoods in developing countries by supporting the sustainable development of aquaculture and fisheries. For more, visit

This post was made possible by the generous support of the American people through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) under the Feed the Future initiative. The contents are the responsibility of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Fish and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.