A Global Agricultural Research Partnership

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Report on AGM05
The World Food Situation
Centers and Members Day
Science Forum Highlights
Crawford Lecture 2005
State of the World's Agriculture
Conversation with Ministers
CGIAR Awards
Science in Action : Visit to INRA
Science for Global Impact
Youth Forum
Media Workshop

December 2005

CGIAR 2005 Science Awards

Two researchers waging battle against animal and plant diseases in Kenya and Mexico were among the winners of the prestigious 2005 Science Awards.

"The CGIAR Science Awards celebrate quality science and beneficial impacts, solving problems faced my millions of poor farmers and herders," said Ian Johnson, CGIAR Chairman and World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development. "Solutions to such problems are vital for creating wealth in rural areas, and helping poor people escape poverty."

  • Ravi Singh of India won the "Science Award for Outstanding Scientist" for developing "slow rusting" wheat varieties with improved resistance to an array of diseases such as leaf rust, yellow rust, powdery mildew, and spot blotch, among others. These improved wheat varieties, currently planted on 26 million hectares worldwide, have saved poor farmers an estimated US$5 billion worth of production losses. The research is being conducted at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), a CGIAR Center in Mexico.

  • Simon Paul Graham , a British citizen, won the "Science Award for Promising Young Scientist" for seminal research leading to the development of a novel, sensitive, and robust immunological assay that screens target parasite molecules causing East Coast Fever (ECF), a debilitating bovine disease that is the bane of pastoralists in Sub-Saharan Africa. Graham's research may also contribute to ongoing efforts to control tropical theileriosis cattle disease, affecting 250 million cattle around the world. The research was conducted at the Kenya-based International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), a CGIAR Center.

In addition to Singh and Graham, six awards recognizing individuals and teams for scientific achievements were given, including:

  • Moatasim Sidahmed of Canada won the "Regional Award for Outstanding Agricultural Technology" for developing a cutter-and-feeder mechanism that allows mechanical harvesting of lentils, a drought-resistant crop rich in proteins that is grown widely in the Central, West Asia and North Africa (CWANA) region. The equipment allows lentil harvesting with wide ranging moisture content (14 to 29 percent). It harvests pods close to the ground, but avoids stones, saving time and money otherwise spent on labor-intensive hand harvesting. Sidahmed's innovative research was conducted at the American University of Beirut.

Ian Johnson and Hamid Narjisse, Director INRA Morocco, present the award to Moatasim Sidahmed.

  • The "Science Award for Outstanding Partnership" went to the "Alternatives to Slash-and-Burn (ASB) Program" for developing more environment-friendly farming techniques and slowing deforestation. Coordinated by the Kenya-based World Agroforestry Centre, the ASB program is a global partnership of over 80 institutions, conducting research in 12 tropical forest biomes (or biologically diverse areas) in the Amazon, Congo basin, northern Thailand, and the islands of Mindanao in Philippines and Sumatra in Indonesia. Its efforts are directed toward curbing deforestation while ensuring that poor people benefit from nature's environmental services. Thomas Tomich, Global Coordinator of ASB received the award on behalf of the partnership.

  • Ilona Kononenko , a Ukrainian national, received the "Science Award for an Outstanding Scientific Support Team" on behalf of a team supporting the Program for Sustainable Agricultural Production in Central Asia and Caucasus (CAC) located in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. The CAC program is convened by the Syria-based International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) and is strengthening agricultural systems in Armena, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Over 4000 scientists and farmers from these countries have benefited from technical training provided by the program.

  • Shaobing Peng of Chinaand his co-authors won the "Science Award for an Outstanding Scientific Article" for the research article "Rice yields decline with higher night temperature from global warming" published in the Proceedings of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 2004. Dr. Shaobing Peng and co-authors Jianliang Huang, John Sheehy, Rebecca Laza, Romeo Visperas, Xuhua Zhong, Grace Centeno, Gurdev Khush, and Kenneth Cassman provide the first direct evidence of decreased crop yields that result from increased night time temperatures associated with global warming. The research clearly shows for the first time that climate change will have a negative impact on food production in some tropical areas. The research was done at the Philippines-based International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), a CGIAR Center.

  • Patricia Shanley , a US citizen, won the "Science Award for Outstanding Communications" for her work co-editing, in conjunction with Gabriel Medina, the book or "Fruit Trees and Useful Plants in the Lives of Amazonians" (or Fruitiferas e Plantas Uteis na Vida Amazonica in Portuguese). The book is a joint publication of Embrapa (Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation), Imazon (the Amazon Institute of People and the Environment) and the Indonesia-based Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), a CGIAR Center. Over 1,000 literacy trainers are using the book to reach around 14,000 adults; five forestry training centers and four universities in Brazil are using the book to improve curriculums.

left to right: Ian Johnson and Latifa Akharbach, Director of ISIC, present award to Patricia Shanley of CIFOR.

All awardees received a scroll and a cash prize.