IRRI wins the 2023 David and Betty Hamburg Award for Science Diplomacy for Seeds Without Borders

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The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) was selected as the recipient of the 2023 David and Betty Hamburg Award for Science Diplomacy for Seeds Without Borders, a regional seed policy agreement that speeds up the distribution of modern rice varieties across nations.

The award was bestowed by the Board of Directors of the American Association for the Advancement of Science to Drs. Uma Shankar Singh and Abdel Ismail, who leads the initiative for the institute. The association recognizes IRRI’s “instrumental role in initiating and catalyzing the impact of the Seeds Without Borders initiative in Southeast and South Asia.”

Launched in 2014, the agreement was originally signed by India, Bangladesh, and Nepal. Over the years, the regional seed-sharing agreement has expanded to include Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Philippines, Vietnam, and Fiji, and will now expand to include other crops.

Seeds Without Borders advocates the following approaches:

Joint evaluation of improved rice varieties for release in areas in different countries but with similar agroclimatic conditions; Collaboration to resolve issues on ownership, intellectual property rights, and germplasm exchange; Reciprocal acceptance of research data and results of farmers’ participatory varietal selection activities generated in one country to support varietal release in other countries; Streamlining evaluation to reduce processing time from two to three years to only one; Collaboration to formulate seed protocols and guidelines compatible across countries. Promotion of prerelease multiplication and demonstration of breeding lines and varieties at advanced stages of release to accelerate awareness among farmers and ensure a sufficient supply of breeder seed once a variety is released; and Promotion of private-sector participation in seed systems to expand the seed supply.

AAAS recognizes an individual or small group working together in the scientific and engineering or foreign affairs communities making an outstanding contribution…

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