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Advancement and Growth Through Sound Research

Growth and advancement are the keys to success in an ever-changing world. The American Floral Endowment (AFE) aims to aid our industry in these areas by supporting impactful research which addresses current challenges, provides new advances, and shares best practices. Each year, the Endowment funds new and innovative projects targeting current needs based directly on feedback from industry leaders.

In 2023-2024, AFE will support 12 research projects in total, including five new research projects and seven continuing projects with $550,000 in funding from the Endowment’s Research Funds.

Research is hugely impactful to our industry, ensuring that the highest quality flowers and plants make it from seed or cuttings to the consumer’s home. These projects will help the industry increase profitability, streamline processes, and take advantage of new technologies,” said Dr. Terril Nell, AFE Research Director.

New Projects

Plant Breeding and Genetic Engineering

Disease Management


Production Technology/Tools

Continuing Projects

Plant Breeding and Genetic Engineering

Disease Management

Insect Management

Production Technology/Tools

To see a full list of our currently funded projects, click here.

AFE-funded university researchers work directly with industry members to understand challenges and critical needs. These researchers, along with the help of highly talented graduate students, continue to identify solutions and provide guidelines for all segments of the floral industry to prepare for our future in the present day. In many areas, AFE research has transformed industry practices resulting in costs and labor savings.

Research Funds

With the help of generous donors, AFE can continue to fund ground-breaking research projects with lasting impacts to make the industry stronger. Currently, there are four named funds designated for research – the Gus Poesch Research Fund, Thrips & Botrytis Research Fund, Joseph H. Hill Memorial Research Fund, and the Christian B. Nissen Research Fund. The Gus Poesch Research Fund was established in honor of Gus Poesch, a true innovator and stimulator of research, and an influential educator and respected businessman. The Thrips & Botrytis Research Fund was created to address the control and management of two of the major challenges faced by the industry, with support from 24 industry leaders and organizations. The Christian B. Nissen Research Fund was established by Ole and Eleanor Nissen to honor Christian, a graduate of the University of Florida who worked for the family business, Sunshine State Carnations, until his unfortunate passing at the age of 36. The Joseph H. Hill Memorial Fund was established in 2021 to fund greenhouse cut flower research.

More information on our named funds can be found here. If you are interested in establishing a fund, please reach out to us at afe@endowment.org.

So, how do YOU take advantage of AFE’s research findings?

Attend any of our monthly Grow Pro Webinar Series to hear directly from AFE’s nationally recognized researchers, hosts, and speakers. They offer ‘how-to’ advice based on AFE-funded and other research projects. The webinar topics are current and offer long-term opportunities for growers to focus on increased profit, greater sustainability, and improved labor efficiency. The monthly webinar presentations occur on a Tuesday each month and are 30-40 minutes in length, plus a 15-minute question-and-answer period with the researchers. Ask your questions directly and get real-time responses. See the full calendar and register here.

Want to Get Involved?

Interested in getting involved in AFE’s research program? Contact AFE’s Research Director, Dr. Terril A. Nell (tnell@afeendowment.org) and Research Coordinator, Laura Barth (lbarth@afeendowment.org). We want to hear from you! What industry challenges keep you up at night? It is through industry feedback that we shape current research priorities.