Syngenta Group announces Mary-Dell Chilton awarded National Medal of Technology and Innovation

  • Award recognizes significant contributions and achievements in science, technology and innovation that contribute to Americans’ well-being
  • Chilton made groundbreaking advancements in biotechnology during her 35-year tenure at Syngenta

Basel, Switzerland, November 13, 2023 - Syngenta Group announced today that Mary-Dell Chilton, Ph.D., has been awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation by President Biden. Dr. Chilton led the team of Syngenta researchers that produced the first transgenic plant and pioneered plant biotechnology, discovering novel methods to improve plants’ ability to control pests and withstand extreme conditions.

The award was bestowed by the President in a ceremony at the White House on October 24.

The National Medal of Technology and Innovation is the highest honor awarded for achievements in technology in the United States, recognizing innovators whose skills have “strengthened America’s economy and improved quality of life.” The award, first presented in 1985, was established by Congress and is administered by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

“Mary-Dell Chilton is a true trailblazer and icon in our industry, and this extraordinary award further confirms the scale and impact of her contributions to the field,” said Justin Wolfe, President Syngenta Seeds. “We are honored to recognize this achievement alongside our former colleague and leader who has inspired innovative thinking and approaches to research during her 35 years at Syngenta and beyond.”

This award is the latest recognition in a history of awards and achievements for Dr. Chilton, including the recent honor of the Golden Goose Award on September 27th, which celebrates federally funded research that benefits society. Previous awards include the World Food Prize in 2013 and the Benjamin Franklin Medal.

Dr. Chilton led the team of Syngenta researchers that produced the first transgenic plant and discovered novel methods to improve plants’ ability to control pests and withstand extreme conditions. Dr. Chilton retired in 2018, but her legacy of innovation continues through the Syngenta Seeds R&D program.

Today, Syngenta Group employs more than 7,000 global R&D experts, invests more than $1.4 billion annually in global R&D, and operates multiple state-of-the-art facilities across the globe – designed to bring farmers and researchers together to accelerate product advancements.

A complete list of Dr. Chilton’s previous award follows:

•       National Academy of Sciences, 1985

•       Rank Prize in Nutrition (United Kingdom), 1986

•       David Gottlieb Medal, University of Illinois, 1986

•       Hendricks Medal, American Chemical Society, 1987

•       John Scott Award, City of Philadelphia, 2000

•       Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Sciences, Franklin Institute, Philadelphia, 2002

•       Washington University, St. Louis, Distinguished Professorship in Arts and Sciences, 2009

•       CSSA Presidential Award, Crop Science Society of America, 2011

•       Triangle Business Journal Lifetime Achievement Award, 2013

•       Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award, 2013

•       Raleigh News & Observer Tar Heel of the Year, 2013

•       USDA Hall of Heroes Inductee, 2015

•       National Inventors Hall of Fame, 2015

•       National Academy of Inventors Inductee, 2016

•       World Changer Award, Research Triangle Park Rotary Club, 2018

•       Golden Goose Award, 2023

•       National Medal of Technology and Innovation, 2023

Contact Information

Syngenta Group Media Relations

[email protected] 

About Syngenta Group

Syngenta Group is one of the world’s biggest agricultural technology companies, with roots going back more than 250 years. With more than 59,000 employees, operating in more than 100 countries, the company strives to transform agriculture with science-driven, technological innovations to deliver high productivity and high-quality food while fighting climate change and restore nature. Syngenta Group is working with farmers to enable Regenerative Agriculture - an outcome-based food production system that nurtures and restores soil health, protects the climate and water resources and biodiversity, and enhances farms' productivity and profitability. Syngenta Group, which is registered in Shanghai, China, and has its management headquarters in Switzerland, draws strength from its four business units: Syngenta Crop Protection, headquartered in Switzerland; Syngenta Seeds, headquartered in the United States; ADAMA®, headquartered in Israel; and Syngenta Group China. Together, these businesses provide industry-leading ways to serve customers around the world.

For Syngenta Group photos and videos, please visit the Syngenta Group Media Library.

More Syngenta Group news