The Brady and Anne Deaton Institute

The Brady and Anne Deaton Institute for University Leadership in International Development supports and develops interdisciplinary research and applied programs focused on the food security and socioeconomic needs around the world with the aim of eliminating extreme poverty. The institute utilizes the strength of the University of Missouri’s global relationships and exceptional Extension abilities.

The Need

  • Nearly one billion people currently live in extreme poverty – which is defined by the United Nations as individuals living on $1.25 or less/day.
  • By 2050 the world will host 9 billion people.
  • We have a limited land base and fragile resource balance.

Institute Goals

  • Raise awareness of the challenge, and focus needed research on, science and technology that contribute to the improvement of food security, alleviation of extreme poverty, and the related issues of health, malnutrition, and environmental sustainability.
  • Test a new approach to higher education leadership in development: Propose an innovative institution-wide “charge” to all disciplines and Extension to make a full press effort to design integrated intervention strategies aimed at reducing the incidence of poverty, utilizing measurable objectives and evaluations conducted over a 5-year period.
  • Increase discussions with other land-grant, public and private research universities, as well as leaders in government, non-government agencies and the corporate sector regarding cutting edge and innovative research.
  • Capitalize on digital technology and social media to disseminate applied research findings to indigenous leaders in targeted countries.
  • Build internal leadership capacity in developing countries to implement socio-economic and agricultural policies/practices that improve food security, economic development and environmental sustainability.

University of Missouri Strengths

  • The University of Missouri is a top land-grant research institution which excels in life sciences, journalism, engineering, and comprehensive health research and education.
  • The University of Missouri has relationships with other land-grant institutions and universities abroad with international recognition for institution building of indigenous strengths in India, Asia and Africa.
  • The University of Missouri is a leader in agricultural policy, including smallholder behavior, resilience, and cooperative leadership.


The Deaton Institute is responsive to the needs and challenges of the MU campus, Columbia community, region, and world. Our current focus includes engaging young people in sharing and applying knowledge to address local and global food insecurity and extreme poverty.

The Deaton Scholars Program – led by students, this University of Missouri program forms interdisciplinary student teams to work in a peer mentorship model to create change for food security and related issues.

The Zero Hunger Challenge Course – taught by Dr. Kiruba Krishnaswamy and offered through the MU Honors College, this course is complementary to the Deaton Scholar Program to build an understanding of hunger and poverty, and to help students make a change to move towards the Sustainable Development Goal of Zero Hunger.

We extend our reach beyond the University of Missouri campus through:

Within Reach Conference series – consists of 3-4 days of virtual programming with thought-provoking panels, a student pitch competition, and interactive student professional development sessions. World-renowned speakers and experts in the field of food security have included Roger Thurow, Lawrence Haddad, and Catherine Bertini. We have hosted two conferences, focused on SDG #1 (No Poverty in 2022), and SDG #2 (Zero Hunger in 2021).

Expansion and replication of the Deaton Scholars Program model – our model of student engagement and success in food security and anti-poverty measures have garnered attention from other universities and institutions worldwide. The Deaton Institute team provides the framework and resources for others to adopt a peer-to-peer mentorship, team-based mentorship cohort, and/or classroom model of the Deaton Scholars Program at their institution. Email henowski@mail.missouri.edu for more information and to schedule a consultation.

Resources to Grow Impact

The institute is currently funded primarily by the University of Missouri and is actively pursuing potential sources of diverse financial support from foundations, private corporations and other donors.

The Deaton Institute for University Leadership in International Development is proud to have a global alumni network of over 750 University of Missouri Deaton Scholars Program graduates.

The DSP Impact encompasses:

  • Mizzou community, by building student engagement and interest in working on local and global challenges related to food insecurity and poverty
  • Local Columbia and Missouri community, by volunteering conducting by DSP cohorts and in partnerships with local organizations and businesses through team community development projects
  • Global community, through global research and applied projects