UK-CGIAR science hub announced by UK Prime Minister

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UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced the launch of the UK-CGIAR Centre for Collaboration and Innovation in Science and Technology at this week’s Global Food Security Summit in London.

CGIAR has a rich history of collaborating with the best and the brightest of UK science. The new cooperation facility will forge dynamic new collaborations between CGIAR, UK science institutes and research centers in the Global South as well as galvanizing existing partnerships.

The UK government wants to harness the country’s strengths in science and technology to help tackle the interconnected challenges of global food security and climate change. With funding from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), the UK-CGIAR cooperation facility has been created to help achieve this ambition by strengthening ties between CGIAR, the world’s largest global agricultural innovation network, and cutting-edge UK science.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “We’re launching a new UK-CGIAR Science Centre to drive cutting edge research on flood tolerant rice, disease resistant wheat and much more. These innovations will reach millions across the poorest countries as well as improving UK crop yields and driving down food prices.”

In the closing session of the summit, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Rodger Voorhies noted, “As a foundation we believe in investment, and research is key to unlocking access to the innovations smallholders need to build that resilience. That’s why we provide a significant amount of funding to the CGIAR System for agriculture research centers. The CGIAR System is the foremost source of innovative solutions and food system transformation, helping to build resilience for 500 million smallholder farmers and farming households around the world.”

Professor Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, Chair, CGIAR System Board said: I’m delighted to witness the launch of this initiative. This is an excellent opportunity to strengthen CGIAR’s existing ties with the UK’s leading scientific institutes and forge new partnerships. The partnership will aid access to cutting edge research ideas for innovations that will benefit the developing countries in which we work.”

The cooperation facility has already commissioned research and started forging partnerships that will work on four areas:

  • Confronting climate change and environmental degradation through sustainable crop management and climate-smart agronomic practices
  • Crop genetic improvement for future climate resilience
  • Enhancing nutrition
  • Livestock improvement, animal health, nutrition and welfare

The Secretariat will be directed by CABI, which will manage day-to-day operations, liaising between the core members: FCDO, CGIAR, and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (representing UK Research and Innovation). Its roles will also involve relationship management with existing and prospective partners, communications support, and project commissioning, as well as monitoring, evaluation, and reporting.

The researchers on the projects will be working in FCDO “priority regions,” including Africa and South Asia. Through these partnerships, the cooperation facility aims to improve locally led innovation and encourage the exchange of agriculture expertise.

FCDO official announcement


Header photo: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaking at the opening of the Global Food Security Summit in London, 20 November 2023. Photo by FCDO UK

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