Our facilities

IRRI Headquarters

 

Located in picturesque Los Baños in Laguna Province, Philippines, the IRRI headquarters comprises of laboratories, screen houses, glass houses, phytotron, 200 hectares of experimental rice fields, library, office buildings, a bookstore, and Riceworld museum.

The initial group of buildings was completed from 1963 to 1973, further additions were made to the IRRI complex afterward. These included several greenhouses, additional screen house space, expansion of building facilities and grounds, new space arrangements in the laboratory and administration buildings, and new houses in the staff housing area. The major additions to the complex, however, occurred after 1973.

In 1974, IRRI’s million-dollar phytotron, a gift from the Australian Government, was completed. It contains glasshouse rooms and growth cabinets where temperature, day length, and humidity can be controlled. In 1981, the phytotron building was enlarged to provide space for a rice tissue culture laboratory.

The largest addition to IRRI’s research and training operations was the Laboratory and Training Conference Center now known as D.L. Umali Hall, which was dedicated in September 1976. This was the first major addition to the original building complex as it existed in early 1962.

The offices of the Director General, Deputy Directors General, Directors, and other administrative staff are located in F.F. Hill Building.

Staff facilities on site include a medical clinic, travel agency, mailroom, gym, other sports amenities, and an international school for children.


International Rice Genebank

The International Rice Genebank, maintained by IRRI, holds more than 124,000 rice accessions that include modern and traditional varieties and wild relatives of rice. It is the biggest collection of rice genetic diversity in the world. Countries from all over the world have sent their rice samples to IRRI for safe keeping as well as for sharing.

Traditional varieties and wild species of rice are increasingly dying out through genetic erosion. Farmers adopt new varieties and cease growing the kinds that they have nurtured for generations, resulting in the eventual loss of the traditional varieties.

Wild species are threatened with extinction as their habitats are destroyed by human activity. Future rice improvement needs the genetic variation from traditional varieties and related wild species in order for the crop to withstand stresses—either biotic (caused by living organisms such as bacteria, fungi, and parasites) or abiotic (caused by the elements, such as drought and flooding)—that challenge rice production around the world.

IRRI—in partnership with national programs and regional and international organizations worldwide and the International Rice Genebank—works to ensure the long-term preservation of rice biodiversity as part of a global strategy to conserve rice genetic resources.

The rice species

The different species of rice conserved at the International Rice Genebank include:

  • Oryza sativa or Asian rice, which is the most commonly grown and consumed type. It probably had its origin between the Himalayas and Indochina and is made up of two major groups: indica and japonica.
  • Oryza glaberrima or African rice, which originated in West Africa. It is not widely cultivated but has been used to breed other types of rice grown in Africa.
  • Twenty-three wild species of rice that are found in Asia, Africa, Australia, and the Americas. Only a few are closely related to Oryza sativa and Oryza glaberrima.

rice varietiesStoring rice seed

Each type of rice at the International Rice Genebank is stored in both the base (-20 °C, long-term storage) and active ( 2–4 °C, for distribution) collections. We continually assess our procedures to ensure that we are doing our best to conserve this vital genetic resource for future generations.

Sharing rice seed

Following extensive negotiation among all contributing countries, IRRI now manages the rice collection stored in the International Rice Genebank under the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. We supply free samples of various types of rice seed to any prospective user upon request, according to the conditions of the Treaty.

Genetic information

With access to the world’s largest collection of rice, we have a unique opportunity to study the diversity of rice. IRRI characterizes rice for its traits and genetic makeup to find useful gene versions.

We work with the International Network for the Genetic Evaluation of Rice (INGER), a global model for the exchange, evaluation, release, and use of genetic resources. The data on all rice types conserved at IRRI are managed and maintained by an information system known as the International Rice Genebank Collection Information System (IRGCIS).


Laboratories

The laboratories found within the IRRI campus are some of the finest facilities for rice research in the world. Crucial work is done inside these laboratories every day.

The largest addition to IRRI’s research and training operations was the Laboratory and Training Conference Center now known as D.L. Umali Hall, which was dedicated in September 1976. This was the first major addition to the original building complex as it existed in early 1962.

DL Umali Hall

Another major addition to the Institute’s physical plant was the Genetic Resources Center, dedicated in December 1977. It was described as “the world’s largest, most modern center for the conservation and utilization of rice genetic materials.” It is now called the T.T. Chang Genetic Resources Center and is located in the N.C. Brady Laboratory, a building named after Dr. Nyle C. Brady, former IRRI Director General (1973-1981).

T.T. Chang Genetic Resources Center

The Kenzo Hemmi Laboratory, completed in April 1992, houses the soil and water science laboratories, analytical service laboratories, and IRRI's biofertilizer germplasm collections. It also provides special facilities to efficiently characterize, maintain, and preserve IRRI’s biofertilizer germplasm collections. The newly renovated Grain Quality, Nutrition, and Postharvest Center is on the ground floor. The three-story building was named after Professor Kenzo Hemmi, a former Chairman of the IRRI Board of Trustees (1983-1988).

Kenzo Hemmi Laboratory

The Klaus Lampe Laboratory, which houses the Genotyping Services Laboratory, provides the latest technology for molecular marker genotyping in rice. It is named after a former Director General of IRRI (1989-1995). This facility is composed of the Asian Rice Biotechnology Network, Gene Array and Molecular Marker Application (GAMMA) Laboratory, and CL-4 greenhouse buildings. The former basement parking area and storage rooms were converted into a laboratory to house the biosafety facilities of the Biotechnology Group. The Containment Level 4, or CL-4, known as the transgenic greenhouse, consists of eight independent bays with controlled environment used solely for the growth of healthy plants and for testing with insects, pathogens, etc. The Rice Transformation Laboratory was renovated to establish a high-throughput transformation system for elite indica rice varieties using Agrobacterium transformation (current capacity is 10,000 events/year).

Klaus Lampe Laboratory

Finally, there is the Genetic Resources Seed Processing Laboratory (GRSPL). Erected beside the Lloyd T. Evans Plant Growth Facility through funding from the Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ), it was built to increase the processing capacity of the International Rice Genebank by 40%, as well as storage for an additional 48,000 accessions beyond the current 120,000+. Construction of the facility started in January 2015; it was dedicated on 13 April 2016.

 Lloyd T. Evans Plant Growth Facility


Zeigler Experiment Station

Covering more than 200 hectares, the IRRI Zeigler Experiment Station (ZES) has 943 fields, 33 greenhouses (a total of 9,300 cubic meters), 25 screen houses (a total of 19,600 square meters), a new screenhouse for C4 rice research, and a phytotron building—a gift from the Australian Government, with glasshouse rooms and growth cabinets where temperature, day-length, and humidity can be controlled. These facilities are maintained and supported by 74 personnel.

The ZES is a showcase for some of the most advanced rice research in the world.

IRRI possesses an extensive infrastructure for all kinds of experiments with rice. More than half of its fields are used for breeding research to improve rice yield, grain quality, resistance to pests and diseases, tolerance of environmental stresses, and to reduce crop requirements.

One of the most technologically advanced rice farms in Asia, the ZES uses a range of the latest technologies, including laser leveling of fields, weather-based irrigation scheduling, modern recirculating dryers, and a rice mill. It features drive-on bunds for better field access and uses an auto-steer tractor and a modern 26-meter spray boom for liquid fertilizer and other applications.

Today, the ZES has programs to reduce the time and energy required to conduct field, irrigation, and postharvest activities—the same challenge faced in many rice-growing areas of the world. These programs include reducing tillage for land preparation, recycling drainage water from fields, and grain-drying with the use of waste heat and geothermal energy.
The Station has a modern rice mill that uses a recirculating dryer to immediately dry incoming paddy. Then, both abrasion and mist polishing take place, followed by color-sorting. These processes, when applied to timely harvested paddy rice, produce a high-quality milled product.

The facility is named after recently retired IRRI Director General Robert S. Zeigler


Training Center

IRRI's training center

For five decades, IRRI has provided a place for scientists and future leaders in rice research to learn. Since 1964, over 15,000 scientists have undergone training at IRRI to conduct rice research.

The IRRI Training Center includes a 40-person mini-auditorium equipped with several computers with Internet connection, a 35-person activity room, and a studio room for recording and video-editing purposes.

The Center is housed in M.S. Swaminathan Hall, formerly known as Dorm IV, and was completed in 1985. It houses the Training Center on the first floor and the upper floors serve as a dormitory for scholars, trainees, and other guests. The building was named after Dr. Monkombu S. Swaminathan, a former Director General of IRRI (1982-1988), and was dedicated on 21 December 1987.

M.S. Swaminathan Hall


Riceworld Museum

Riceworld Museum at IRRI

The foresight and idea of building a museum and learning center were first conceived by M.S. Swaminathan—then director general of IRRI—in 1983. The number of visitors at IRRI increased through the years, and he started to notice the busloads of schoolchildren. However, there was really nothing much for visitors that young to see that would make them appreciate the history and value of rice. Dr. Swaminathan wrote “... rice will become increasingly important in the next century and beyond because of the wide amplitude of its adaptation. It is, therefore, important that young students who come in large numbers to IRRI have an opportunity to learn about the antiquity and fascinating history of the rice plant.”

For some time, not much progress was achieved toward the realization of Dr. Swaminathan's vision, until Klaus Lampe—also a director general of IRRI—revived the idea in 1993. With the help of a grant from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) of the Federal Republic of Germany, the idea became reality.

The Riceworld Museum was formally opened on 22 September 1994 by H.E. Karl-Friedrich Gansäuer, the ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Philippines at Chandler Hall. Also located in Chandler Hall is the Havener Auditorium. This auditorium was dedicated on 7 April 2006 in honor of Dr. Robert D. Havener, who served as Interim Director General of IRRI for 8 months in 1998. His visionary leadership at IRRI created conducive environments in which scientific ideas and research programs would flourish, ultimately leading to increased food production around the world.

Chandler Hall

IRRI Riceworld is a permanent exhibit of artifacts and implements from around the rice-growing world, as well as a learning center for rice production and research and their importance in global food production. The exhibit is dedicated to rice farmers around the world. A major part of IRRI Riceworld is devoted to more than 200 rice farming tools for different stages of cultivation: plows, carts, scythes, knives, a mud-carrying drag-sled, and others. Rice machinery developed and modified at IRRI, including a stove fueled by rice husks, is also on display. One area of IRRI Riceworld is dominated by the 7.5-ton wooden sculpture by renowned Japanese sculptor Mitsuaki Tanabe. “Momi,” the Japanese word for an unhulled grain of wild rice, is a modern sculpture depicting a seed partially out of the ground. The shoot, root, and root hairs are featured to represent vitality at germination, an essential characteristic of wild plants.

Riceworld has undergone several improvements over the years, and the visitors grew in number as well. In 1997, Riceworld received up to 120,000 guests, and the number averages 50,000 per year. Visitors are a mixed group of local and international groups. However, 70–80% of visitors are made up of students.

In 2004, Riceworld celebrated its 10th year—happily coinciding with the International Year of Rice.

In 2014, the museum celebrated its 20th year with the theme Riceworld@20: Where rice is twice as nice. This is also in commemoration of the Philippines' Rice Awareness Month in November, which also highlighted the value of rice as the country staple.


Lloyd T. Evans Plant Growth Facility

Lloyd T. Evans Plant Growth Facility

The Lloyd T. Evans Plant Growth Facility (PGF), officially dedicated and opened on 21 January 2016, is a state-of-the-art research complex on the campus of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). It is envisioned to become a key international resource and venue for biotechnology research and the conservation of genetic diversity.

The facility includes eight controlled-environment glasshouses, a large set of controlled-environment walk-in and reach-in plant growth chambers, plant processing and potting laboratories, and a large seed processing and storage setup. It also features optimum environment-friendly management support systems that employ rainwater capture and storage, natural ventilation, and other energy-saving technologies.

With the PGF, scientists will now be able to nurture and study plants, particularly rice, in a wide range of environments. Researchers can precisely control temperature, relative humidity, light intensity, photoperiod systems, atmospheric gases, and water management systems.

The innovative research that will be carried out here will contribute significantly to understanding the impact of climate change on the growth of the rice plant. The glasshouses will also be used for strategic plant physiology research that will yield insights into improving other crops such as wheat.

Educating the upcoming generation of future leaders in rice science is one of IRRI’s major strategic goals. So, it is hoped that the facility’s cutting-edge array of scientific equipment will entice many bright graduates to make a career out of studying the crop sciences.

About Dr. Lloyd T. Evans

Dr. Lloyd T. EvansAustralian plant physiologist Lloyd T. Evans (1927-2015) was the chief of the Division of Plant Industry at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) from 1971 to 1978 and president of the Australian Academy of Science from 1978 to 1982. His research on plant physiology has been published in several scientific journals, reviews, and books, reflecting his deep interest and understanding of his field of expertise.

His 1998 book, Feeding the Ten Billion, is a celebration of the history of agricultural innovation published on the 200th anniversary of Thomas Malthus’s gloomy essay on world population and food supply. As a world-renowned plant physiologist, Evans was instrumental in the development of IRRI’s original phytotron, which was dedicated and opened on 23 September 1974. He embodied a positive and constructive relationship between Australia and IRRI throughout his career.

Lloyd T. Evans served as a member of the board of trustees of both IRRI (1984-89) and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in Mexico.


Other facilities

Harrar Hall was named after J. George Harrar, chair of the first IRRI Board of Trustees in 1960. The building was dedicated on 21 April 1980 and houses the main cafeteria and the IRRI Dining Room, the Food and Housing Services office, the mailroom, the travel agency office, the Guests Residence Hall, the coffee shop, and Riceworld Bookstore. Harrar Hall is located along the rotunda, between F.F. Hill Hall and Chandler Hall.

Harrar Hall

The former Ladies' Dormitory, J.D. Drilon Hall, was renovated to become the new Social Sciences Division (SSD) building on 25 April 2012. Drilon Hall was named in honor of Dr. Jose D. Drilon, Jr., who stayed with IRRI for about 10 years, serving as executive officer. As is reported later, in the days of IRRI’s founding, Drilon played a most significant role in getting a law through the Philippine Congress granting IRRI tax exemption and visa privileges on a more secure basis than was possible under the President's executive order.

J.D. Drilon Hall

Khush Hall was dedicated on 3 April 2002 in honor of Dr. Gurdev S. Khush, IRRI Plant Breeder (1966-2001) and World Food Prize laureate. It used to be called the Collaborators’ Center and it houses the Philippine offices of some other international agricultural centers and the IRRI Club. The three-story building was completed in 1979.

Khush Hall

The Ronald P. Cantrell Hall, dedicated on 13 December 2004 in honor of Dr. Ronald P. Cantrell, IRRI Director General (1998-2004), houses the Communication Office.

R.P. Cantrell Hall