In 2022, CGIAR received many prestigious awards for its contributions to food and nutrition security and sustainable livelihoods around the world. CGIAR Centers and researchers were recognized for the outstanding quality of their work, and the significant impacts they continue to have on transforming food, land, and water systems in a climate crisis.

Explore below our pick of CGIAR Centers and researchers awarded for their outstanding achievements in 2022.



Norman Borlaug Field Award –
Dr. Mahalingram Govindaraj
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Dr. Mahalingram Govindaraj. Photo by World Food Prize Foundation

Dr. Mahalingram Govindaraj, Senior Scientist for Crop Development at HarvestPlus and the Alliance of Bioversity International & CIAT, was awarded the 2022 Norman E. Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application, which recognizes individuals under the age of 40 who have made exceptional scientific contributions to international agriculture and food production.

Dr. Govindaraj was recognized for his groundbreaking work on the development of Dhanashakti, the world’s first biofortified pearl millet variety. Enriched with higher iron content, biofortified pearl millet has made significant contributions to food and nutrition security, particularly for women and children. It is estimated that by 2024, more than 9 million people in India will be consuming iron- and zinc-rich pearl millet and living healthier lives as a result.

“It has never been more important to get nutrition security onto the agenda across the world through agricultural intervention.”
Dr. Mahalingam Govindaraj
2022 Arrell Global Food Innovation Award – Delia Grace Randolph
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Delia Grace, Joint Appointed Scientist for the Animal and Human Health Program at ILRI. Photo by Dinesh/ILRI

Delia Grace Randolph, Joint Appointed Scientist for the Animal and Human Health Program at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), was awarded the 2022 Arrell Global Food Innovation Award in the category of research innovation, which recognizes unique approaches and achievements of individuals and organizations contributing to food systems worldwide. 

A trained veterinarian and epidemiologist, Grace works in the interconnections between animal, human and environmental health, with a focus on improving food safety in informal markets in developing countries. She was recognized for the transformative impact of her work helping communities build capacity and improve food access and safety. Due to her work, the panel of judges said, “millions more people can have safer and better access to food while also protecting the planet and incorporating important cultural and societal roots.” 

“There is a very critical relationship between animal, human and environment health and I hope we can continue to research and find ways to help improve food safety and thus the health of humans and animals.”
Delia Grace
2022 World BioProtection Awards: Best Innovative Research Project – Aflasafe
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IITA Plant Pathologist Alejandro Ortega-Beltran (center) received the award on behalf of the Institute. Photo by IITA

Aflasafe, a CGIAR-developed aflatoxin biocontrol technology, was named Best Innovative Research Project at the World BioProtection Awards 2022, which recognizes remarkable achievements in biocontrol and biological agriculture. 

Aflasafe was recognized as an outstanding innovation that has reduced the problem of aflatoxin contamination in crops such as maize, soybean, and groundnut. Under an IITA program operating in 21 African countries, the dry spore innovation is already being used in 12 countries to treat hundreds of thousands of hectares of cropland, producing tons of high-quality, aflatoxin-safe crops – supporting food safety, health and livelihoods. 

“Aflasafe currently has activities in 21 African countries and supports aflatoxin management programs in various countries in the Americas, Asia, and Europe. We look forward to expanding our activities and contributing towards greater impact in food safety in additional countries in Africa and beyond.”
Alejandro Ortega-Beltran, IITA Plant Pathologist
Grand Prize winners: Seeding the Future Global Food Systems Challenge – IRRI and WorldFish
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Fish and rice in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Photo by P. Dugan/WorldFish

CGIAR Centers IRRI and WorldFish were two of the three Grand Prize winners in the inaugural Seeding the Future Global Food Systems Challenge, which aims to inspire and support innovative, diverse, and multidisciplinary teams to create game-changing innovations that will help transform our food systems. The awards are hosted by the Institute of Food Technologists and the Seeding the Future Foundation. 

IRRI was awarded for its arsenic-safe rice project, which addresses the problem of arsenic contamination in rice by testing, validating and distributing rice cultivars that absorb less arsenic from soil and water, keep arsenic content within safe limits for human and livestock health, and meet market requirements for quality. WorldFish was awarded for its on-farm aquaculture project, which aims to bring sustainable, nutrient-rich small fish production to small-scale actors, especially for consumers who need it most, such as young children, pregnant and lactating women. The winning innovations were chosen from among 900 applications from 60 countries. 

“We are excited to announce the winners of this first Challenge and support their innovative solutions that will sustainably improve our food system, provide safe and nutritious food that is safe, affordable, and accessible to consumers, and benefit human and environmental health.”
Bernhard van Lengerich, founder of Seeding the Future Foundation
CGIAR legacy
Padma Bhushan Award: Science and Engineering (posthumous) –
Sanjaya Rajaram, CIMMYT
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Norman Borlaug, Sanjaya Rajaram and Arthur R. Klatt visiting wheat fields in Mexico in 1968. Photo by N. MacLellan/CIMMYT

India conferred posthumously its prestigious 2022 Padma Bhushan Award in Science and Engineering in recognition of “distinguished service of high order” to Sanjaya Rajaram, 2014 World Food Prize laureate and former wheat breeder and Director of the Wheat Program at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT).

Crown-of-thorns seastar named after CGIAR scientist – John Benzie, WorldFish
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WorldFish scientist Dr. John Benzie. Photo by WorldFish

A crown-of-thorns seastar native to the Red Sea was named after WorldFish’s John Benzie in recognition of his groundbreaking genetic studies on crown-of-thorns seastars in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Top-cited research
Six CGIAR researchers were listed among Clarivate's Highly Cited Researchers in 2022
M. Iqbal R. Khan,
Jill E. Cairns,
José Crossa,
Matthew P. Reynolds,
Philip K. Thornton,
Edward Hugh Allison,

Awards and achievements

Ain Shams University Innovates Award
– Rania Gamal, ICARDA

Circularity Africa: Awards of Excellence
– IITA and its Director General, Nteranyan Sanginga

Derek Tribe Award
– Lisa-Maria Rebelo, IWMI

International Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Symposium: Award for Excellence
– Integrated Pest Management Innovation Lab, IRRI

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification
– Future Seeds, Alliance of Bioversity International & CIAT

Maize Association of Nigeria: Award

Sh. VS Mathur Memorial Award 2022
– Ravi Singh, CIMMYT