Photo of Robert Fraley

Robert Fraley

  • National Medal of Technology and Innovation
  • Agriculture

For their pioneering achievements in plant biology and agricultural biotechnology, and for global leadership in the development and commercialization of genetically modified crops to enhance agricultural productivity and sustainability.

Robert Fraley has a huge job with Monsanto. He’s in charge of the company’s integrated crop and seed agribusiness technology and research, overseeing research taking place across the globe. Fraley’s passion dates to his childhood growing up on a farm in Illinois

Fraley, who holds a doctorate in Microbiology and Biochemistry from the University of Illinois, has been lauded for his work in plant biology and agricultural biotechnology. He and a team of scientists at Monsanto have pioneered methods of genetically modifying crops to enhance both productivity and sustainability.

He joined Monsanto in 1981, and led a group that worked to develop better crop yields through genetic engineering. Fraley’s work is reflected in the more than 17 million farmers worldwide who successfully grow genetically-modified crops, Monsanto says.

Fraley has been a vocal advocate for genetically modified organisms — and the role of science in helping feed the world’s growing population – and has pushed for scientists to join the public dialogue.

In 2013, Fraley was one of three scientists to win the international World Food Prize – which The New York Times calls agriculture science’s version of the Oscars — for his work.

By Robert Warren