The Ohio State University Center for Applied Plant Sciences (CAPS) is a new partnership between Ohio State’s College of Arts and Sciences and College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. It supports building a strong connection between basic research and potential applications, and the creation of new bioproducts and enhanced crop performance are among CAPS top priorities.

CAPS allows us to tap into the incredible scientific expertise available at Ohio State. I envision interdisciplinary teams that can take a very basic biological concept and translate it into an application that would be a practical solution to a problem, such as a new plant-based industrial product or a food that helps prevent cancer.

{Erich Grotewold, Director, CAPS} 


To find practical solutions to challenging problems within four main strategic areas:

  • Photosynthesis & Carbon Fixation
  • Biomass & Bioproducts
  • Crop Improvement & Functional Food
  • Plant-Microbe Interactions


  • Bring together interdisciplinary scientific teams to tackle challenges in the four strategic areas listed above
  • Provide improved access to research facilities
  • Increase opportunities to attract top PhD students with graduate and postdoctoral fellowships through Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Translational Plant Sciences (TPS)


CAPS builds on earlier initiatives to increase research work across disciplines and colleges, such as:

  • The Plant Molecular Biology and Biotechnology Program—collaborations between Columbus and Wooster campus scientists
  • The Translational Plant Sciences Targeted Investment in Excellence (TIE)—$6 million investment in new faculty, equipment and fellowships to increase leadership in the molecular plant sciences

CAPS Seminar Series

Weekly scientific seminars cover topics related to each of CAPS strategic areas. These seminars develop interactions and spur synergistic connections among researchers in diverse fields. Seminars are from Ohio State faculty, postdoctoral researchers, graduate students and distinguished external speakers, summarizing the highlights of their current work.  


To bridge the gap between basic and applied research, CAPS works with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC), the Ohio BioProducts Innovation Center (OBIC), and the Office for Energy and the Environment (OEE).


CAPS sponsors/co-sponsors a variety of events and initiatives, including:

Greening of the Classroom Initiative

Introduces high school students to the use of plants to study and solve key global issues.

Tripartite Conference of the Americas on Biotechnology and Bioenergy

Unique research partnership of three major universities — Ohio State, Rutgers, and the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil — committed to intensive, collaborative research on Bioenergy and Biofuels.

Practical Summer Workshop in Functional Genomics

Lectures in genomics, RNA expression analysis and proteomics; hands-on laboratory experience; bioinformatics sessions, all aimed at solving cutting-edge problems in these areas. Open to graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, junior faculty members, qualified undergraduate students and high school teachers.