Genetic Innovation and IRRI forge strong partnership for Breeding Resources Initiative in the Philippines

  • From
    CGIAR Initiative on Breeding Resources
  • Published on
    19.02.24

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Manila, Philippines – January 2024  

In a development aimed at advancing global crop breeding, Genetic Innovation (GI), a science group within CGIAR, has entered into an agreement with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). The agreement, signed at IRRI’s headquarters in the Philippines, will help support the effective implementation of GI’s activities, and particularly one of its constituents, Breeding Resources Initiative (BRI). 

GI Managing Director Sonja Vermeulen and IRRI Interim Director General Ajay Kohli formalizing the agreement for GI and IRRI

About the agreement 

Breeding Resources Initiative focuses on developing, offering, and maintaining global shared breeding services for CGIAR and partner Centers, including genotyping, nutritional analysis, trialling and nursery activities and digital solutions for breeders. The agreement formalizes IRRI’s role as a key partner for GI’s activities, and, consequently, for Breeding Resources Initiative. 

The partnership marks a significant step forward for Breeding Resources, allowing it to establish partnerships with influential organizations and receive the necessary support for its progress.  

The agreement represents a formal recognition of the work carried out by GI-BRI, acknowledged by IRRI, a longstanding partner and advocate for Breeding Resources. This partnership constitutes a mutually beneficial collaboration which will leverage and expand the scope of the work of Breeding Resources and is anticipated to yield benefits for both parties, as emphasized by the signatories. 

“IRRI has phenomenal leadership and excels in breeding and data management,” said Dr.  Vermeulen. “This kind of smart work represents the CGIAR of the future”, she added. 

“The collaboration with GI not only solidifies the partnership of IRRI and our sister research Centers under CGIAR,” said Dr. Hans Bhardwaj, director of IRRI’s Rice Breeding Innovations Leadership Team. “It is an inevitable step towards further synergizing of products and services under CGIAR’s portfolio. We are thankful for this opportunity to further demonstrate our commitment and capacity to support CGIAR’s research Initiatives.” 

Group picture taken during the signing ceremony on January 29, with IRRI and Breeding Resources Initiative’s team members.

In practice

Under the terms of the agreement, IRRI commits to hosting and providing assistance to all GI operations and personnel based in the Philippines, aligning with the provisions of the Headquarters Agreement between IRRI and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (2006). GI-BRI continues to function independently, maintaining its fiduciary responsibilities to GI.  

Building upon the GI Initiative funding mechanism and the strive towards resource use efficiency, the partnership with IRRI further solidifies the flow-through mechanism for existing and future GI shared services globally, including low density SNP genotyping (LDSG), mid-density SNP genotyping (MDSG), elemental analysis via ICP-OES, and the use of Amazon Web Services (AWS) for breeding IT. 

This collaboration is set to remain in force until December 31, 2027, with the possibility of extension, signalling a long-term commitment by both GI and IRRI to drive advancements in research and crop breeding. The partnership is thus expected to enhance efficiency, improve process management, and create new opportunities for IRRI, Breeding Resources Initiative and GI activities along the way. 

Photo taken while the two teams visited the IRRI facilities, following the signing of the partnership

During her visit, Dr. Vermeulen also toured IRRI’s facilities where scientists showcased various research projects and advancements providing her with valuable insights into the institute’s commitment to cutting-edge agricultural solutions.

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Photo credits: IRRI. Main image: GI Managing Director Sonja Vermeulen and IRRI Interim Director General Ajay Kohli formalizing the agreement for GI and IRRI. We would like to thank all funders who support CGIAR research through their contributions to the CGIAR Trust Fund

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