Klaus Lampe, IRRI’s fifth director general, passes away in Germany
by Gene Hettel
Klaus J. Lampe, director general of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI, 1988-95), passed away peacefully on 6 February in his native Germany. He was 92. Dr. Lampe was an innovative leader and visionary during his 7 years at IRRI’s helm. His coordination of research teams from different disciplines resulted in the increased efficiency of growing rice, a crop that continues to provide the basic food supply for around half of the world’s population.
With his guidance, IRRI revised the organization of its research from a discipline-oriented structure to a matrix management model in 1990. The matrix was adopted as a means of ensuring the relevance of research programs and projects to IRRI’s goals, while maintaining scientific excellence.
“It was under his leadership that IRRI identified a new strategy for the 21st century and began to take bolder risks for exploring new avenues of research, international cooperation, and management of international research support services to cope with the new challenges,” said IRRI Interim Director General Ajay Kohli, who in the early 90s was himself a beneficiary of the Asian Rice Biotechnology Network (ARBN) at IRRI. ARBN was another visionary initiative of Dr. Lampe to kick start the use of biotechnology in agriculture in general and for rice in particular, then led by biotechnologist Dr. John Bennett, through support from the Rockefeller Foundation and the Asian Development Bank.
During his IRRI Pioneer interview in 2008 , Dr. Lampe envisioned that there would be five tasks still valid…