The Eastern Regional Research Center (ERRC) is one of four Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Research Centers.
The Center has 90 senior scientists/engineers (including post-docs), 110 support scientists, 15-20 students, over 35 foreign collaborating scientists, and 18 administrative staff that support 27 research projects. Through her leadership and vision, Dr. Sevim Erhan has refocused and transformed the laboratory into a Center with national and international prominence, as well as one that is viewed as the “go-to” facility for research in food safety, sustainable biofuels, dairy and food processing innovations, and biobased products.
Dr. Erhan’s entire career with the ARS has been directed toward finding and transferring solutions to agricultural problems. She successfully increased productivity, funding, and facilities in each leadership assignment by motivating the scientists and research leaders, and ensuring that their research was always focused on American agriculture’s highest priority problems. She also initiated and coordinated with the Office of International Research Programs to ship surplus reference books and journals from the ERRC library to the Institute of Agricultural Research for Development (IRAD) in Cameroon, Africa, as well as supporting a senior scientist’s month-long visit to collaborate in the development of bioenergy technology. Additionally, she is working with Tajikistan and through the Foreign Agricultural Service in Afghanistan to transfer knowledge to countries where there is a critical need for sustainability in agriculture.
She successfully increased productivity, funding, and facilities in each leadership assignment by motivating the scientists and research leaders, and ensuring that their research was always focused on American agriculture’s highest priority problems.
Dr. Erhan has been instrumental in the development of a Partnership Intermediary Agreement between the ARS Office of Transfer Technology (OTT) and the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority (BFTDA), an intermediary that will facilitate interactions between ARS and Pennsylvania businesses. BFTDA’s mission is to drive innovation and technology-based economic development for Pennsylvania. BFTDA and its many associates will showcase the technologies developed by Agricultural Research Service scientists, as well as facilities available to the region and the state.
One example of a successful transfer under Dr. Erhan’s leadership involves instantized corn soy blend (ICSB), a ready-to-eat emergency aid meal. ICSB was developed at ERRC using modern food processing technology, and Dr. Erhan worked to overcome hurdles in its transfer by setting new policy, developing networks, and collaborating with a company that hires the severely handicapped to manufacture the ICSB products in the U.S. From there, a team of USDA scientists, program managers, policy administrators, and international aid agencies worked together to distribute ICSB in Haiti and other parts of the world.