UPLB, KOICA, IRRI and Key Institutions to establish agri-genomics facilities to support national competitiveness

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LOS BAÑOS, Laguna (26 March 2024) – The growth of state-of-the-art agricultural genomics research and education facilities in the Philippines took a major step forward today with the establishment of the University of the Philippines Los Baños Agricultural Genomics Research Center (UPLB AGRC) Project Steering Committee at a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing ceremony at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) headquarters in Los Baños, Philippines.

The Committee will guide the construction and set up of the new AGRC on the UPLB campus under a USD 14.97 million, six-year project funded by the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).

The project, “ Capacity-Building for Higher Education and the Establishment of Agricultural Genomics Research Center at the University of the Philippines Los Baños ,” is set to provide a range of training, exchange and capacity building opportunities for scientists from UPLB, Korea and IRRI. By supporting the establishment of the USD 5 million AGRC, the project will embed the learning and foster further growth of genomics science and education in the Philippines to help boost the country’s agricultural competitiveness.

IRRI, as the project’s technical partner, has established ten advanced agricultural science internship programs and provides guidance on applying genomics tools in plant breeding, while also supervising scholars to conduct cutting-edge research in its facilities.

The collaboration also offers Filipino graduate students from UPLB opportunities to pursue doctoral degrees in Korean universities and engage in an MS sandwich research program at IRRI. Ten PhD candidates are already studying in Korea while two will start in this year’s fall semester. Fourteen of the 15 MS candidates have been selected as well. The MS Screening Committee is set to resume their interviews for the first semester of the academic year 2024-2025.

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