Milestones

Robert Zeigler at the IRC2014 in Bangkok, Thailand

2014 was packed with significant events and activities

2 January. The 4th edition of the Rice Almanac was published by IRRI. It is the first IRRI book available on Kindle. Read more

3 January. Vol. 13, No. 1 (January-March) issue of Rice Today was published--Vietnam turns back a tsunami of pesticides. View

From left to right: Department of Agriculture official Dr. Santiago Obien, IRRI's Julian Lapitan,  DA's Dr. Edmund Sana,  Carlito Balingbing of IRRI experiment station, and  Dr. Bruce Tolentino,  IRRI’s deputy director general of communications and partnerships, join in loading  quality rice seeds for  farmers in Yolanda-stricken areas in Region 8.
IRRI and DA officials join in loading quality rice seeds for farmers in Yolanda-stricken areas in Region 8.

8 January. IRRI donated more seeds of high-yielding rice varieties for farmers in Typhoon Yolanda-striken areas of the Philippines. Read more | See 1:28 YouTube video

9 January. Fangming Xie, IRRI hybrid rice breeder, received the the Anhui Friendship Award for his contributions to the social and economic development of Anhui Province in China. Read more

12 January. An Asia Society Symposium, In a grain of rice: food & culture for South and Southeast Asia, featured IRRI research on improving the eating quality of rice. Read more

27 January. As part of the USAID's Feed the Future Program, the Innovation Laboratory for the Reduction of Postharvest Losses is launched at a meeting hosted by Kansas State University. For rice, IRRI is the implementing partner in Bangladesh. Read more

29 January. In commemoration of the 104th birthday of Philippine National Artist Vicente Manansala, artists and art enthusiasts joined the IRRI community to celebrate some of his treasured art work, which has been on display at the Institute since the early 1960s. Read more | View 3-video playlist on YouTube | View 74 photos on flickr

3 February. IRRI's YouTube site surpassed 1,000,000 views.

3-4 February. IRRI showcased its work at the Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture (GFIA) held in Abu Dhabi. Read more

5 February. IRRI launched its new Transforming Rice Breeding Efficiency project aimed at making use of modern breeding tools and approaches that will focus on the Institute's breeding "pipelines" for irrigated rice. Read more

DDGR Matthew Morell
IRRI Deputy Director General for Research Matthew Morell

17 February. Matthew Morell became IRRI's 7th deputy director general for research. Read more | Photos on flickr

20 February. Achim Dobermann, outgoing deputy director general for research (2008-2014), gave his exit seminar to the IRRI community. View seminar | Photos on flickr

21 February. The IRRI community bade farewell to two international staff members: Achim Dobermann, deputy director general for research; and Fiona Farell, director, human resource services.

6 March. The Multi-parent Advanced Generation Inter-Cross (MAGIC) rice breeding nursery is showcased at IRRI headquarters to highlight the availability of novel genetic resources as response gene pools. Read more | View photos on flickr

10-11 March. IRRI celebrated International Women's Day with a series of activities at headquarters to highlight the important role of women in all areas of agricultural science. Read more | Photos on flickr | View 5:00 YouTube video

1 April. Rod Wing, director of the Arizona Genomics Institute at the University of Arizona, begins his AXA Chair at IRRI to lead research on comparative genomics and genome assembly of diverse types of rice, both cultivated and wild. Read more | View 1:03 video on YouTube

2 April. Vol. 13, No. 2 (April-June) issue of Rice Today was published--Creating an oasis with rice. View

3 April. IRRI and the Philippine Rice Research Institute signed an agreement for the mutual protection of elite breeding lines in the Philippines. Read more

6-8 April. IRRI staff members, led by DDG-R Matthew Morell, attended the 49th Annual Rice Research Meetings at the Directorate of Rice Research in Rajendranagar, Hyderabad, India to review progress of the IRRI-Inda Work Plan for 2013-16. Read more | View photo montage

8-11 April. In Danang City, Vietnam, more than 90 representatives from 10 countries in South and Southeast Asia participated in the 13th Annual Review, Planning, and Steering Committee Meeting of the Consortium for Unfavorable Rice Environments (CURE). Read more | Group photo

LTCCE 150th harvest
 LTCCE 150th harvest

15 April. IRRI marked the 150th crop of its Long-Term Continuous Cropping Experiment. Read more | View 4:48 YouTube video about the experiment | View photos of ceremonial harvest on flickr | Watch a 1:58 YouTube video of the ceremonial harvest | View 4-video playlist on YouTube | Read Rice Today feature

16 April. The 8th annual NRS awarding ceremony was held at IRRI, which recognized the important contribution of the national staff to the Institute's work and formally awarded outstanding performances. Read more to see winners | Photos on flickr

23-25 April. As IRRI continued the re-assessment of its partnerships with the private sector, the Institute and Syngenta held a review and planning workshop for their joint Scientific Know-How and Exchange Program (SKEP). Read more

30 April. Photo of Bangladeshi rice farmers by National Geographic photographer Jim Richardson appeared on the NGS Web site. Richardson was assisted in Bangladesh by Tim Russell, IRRI's chief of party for CSISA-Bangladesh Read more | View photo

6-7 May. Member countries of the Council for Partnership in Rice in Asia (CORRA) shared their visions, strategies, and plans for the development of their respective rice sectors at a workshop in Putrajaya, Malyasia. Read more | Group photo

10 May. IRRI was featured in an important article in The Economist about a bigger rice bowl coming from the second Green Revolution. Read article

12 May. IRRI community bade farewell to Bhagirath Chauhan, weed scientist at the Institute for 7 years. View 13:23 YouTube video

4 May. Ediberto Redona, INGER coordinator, and Glenn Gregorio, rice breeder and deputy head of IRRI's Plant Breeding, Genetics, and Biotechnology Division, received 2014 Achievement Awards for research management and research, respectively, during the 44th Annual Scientific Conference of the Crop Science Society of the Philippines. Read more

20-23 May. Phase 3 of the Stress-Tolerant Rice for Africa and South Asia (STRASA) project was launched in New Delhi. With this phase, STRASA, a flagship project of IRRI, the Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP), and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is now extended for an additional 5 years through 2018. Read more | View group photo

22 May. The World Economic Forum on East Asia launched the Grow Asia Initiative with IRRI as a founding collaborator. Director General Bob Zeigler, during a televised plenary on Agricultural Transformation in East Asia, called on governments and the private sector to join hands to ensure that farming families share in the benefits of economic growth. Read more | View the 1:10:06 discussion on WEF Website

Rice varieties in the International Rice Genebank
 The open-access, open-data journal GigaScience, announced on May 28 the publication of an article on the genome sequencing of 3000 rice strains.

28 May. Coinciding with World Hunger Day, the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, BGI, and IRRI published in GigaScience an article on the genome sequencing of 3,000 rice varieties along with the release to the world of the entire dataset in a citable format in the journal's open-access database, GigaDB. Read more | View GigaScience article | View additional commentary | Read Rice Today feature

30 May-4 June. IRRI participated in the 5-day rice-themed Asian Book Festival of Children's Content in Singapore. Read more

7 June. A chapter on the Case for Golden Rice by IRRI Director General Robert Zeigler appeared in the Springer book, Plant Biotechnology: Experience and Future Prospects. Read more

June 2014. IRRI's 2014 Wall Calendar, Feathers in the Field, the Birds of IRRI, won a Silver Award in the Promotional Publication Class of the Publishing Category in the Critique and Awards Program of the Association for Communication Excellence (ACE) in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences. The award was presented during ACE's annual international meeting in Portland Oregon, USA. View calendar

1 July. Vol. 13, No.3 (July-September) issue of Rice Today was published--Dawn of a new era in rice improvement. View

5 July. The Asia Rice Foundation USA announced its 2014 Travel and Study Awards, which involves sending two scholars in U.S. universities to IRRI to enhance their studies. Read more

16 July. IRRI headquarters took a direct hit from Typhoon Glenda (Rammasun) on 16 July and then remained closed through 20 July to clean up and make repairs. No casualties but much property damage. View video of storm aftermath in IRRI staff housing

22 July. The Geographic Information Systems (GIS) team in the Social Sciences Division won the mid-2014 Semi-Annual Team Award (SATA). The team won for its critical and timely response after the devastating Typhoon Yolanda in the central Philippines on 8 November 2013. It is an excellent example of applying IRRI's scientific expertise to real-world issues.

Philippine Senator Cynthia A. Villar
Hon. Cynthia A. Villar, chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, during her keynote address at IRRI's celebration of the Philippine Nutrition Month.

23 July. In observation of Philippine Nutrition Month, IRRI organized a Forum on Food Nutrition and Security. Philippine Senator Cynthia A. Villar gave the keynote address. Read more | View photos on flickr

4 August. J.K. Ladha, IRRI principal scientist and country representative for India and Nepal, was among those who received the 2014 Crop Science Society of America (CSSA) Fellowship Award presented at the CSSA's annual meeting, 2-5 November in Long Beach, California. Read more

26 August. During the 35th convocation ceremony of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore, India, IRRI Director General Robert Zeigler was conferred with an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science. Read more | And more | View photo | View 4:12 acceptance speech on YouTube

30 August. IRRI Director General Robert Zeigler guested on Radio Australia's RN First Bite Program’s to participate in the GMO-Golden Rice debate. Read more | Access the audio (Zeigler appears in segments between 15:00 to 23:25)

12 September. The Los Baños Science Community Foundation, Inc. recognized a paper about IRRI's Multi-parent Advanced Generation Inter-Cross (MAGIC) Populations Project as the best paper during its annual National Science and Technology Week. Read more | View 11:05 YouTube video about MAGIC | View MAGIC photos on flickr | View MAGIC theme song

16 September. IRRI was featured in the October issue of National Geographic magazine in an article on the next Green Revolution. IRRI staff quoted were Robert Zeigler, Glenn Gregorio, and Paul Quick. Read the article

17 September. IRRI was featured on the PBS NewsHour as the debate grows over Golden Rice in the Philippines. Watch the 8:25 video on PBS | Read the transcript

20-25 September. During a series of high-level meetings with the ministers and senior officials of the ASEAN Ministries Agriculture and Forestry in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, IRRI urges ASEAN to a nurture a new generation of rice scientists and extension professionals. Read more

25 September. Speaking at a Brookings Institution panel discussion on eliminating hunger by 2030, IRRI Director General Robert Zeigler said immediate changes in rice production practices are necessary to offset volatile climates, limited water supply, and diminishing agricultural land. Read more | Listen to podcast | View transcript

Farmers' Day at IRRI
Farmers' Day at IRRI

1 October. More than 400 farmers from around the Philippines attended Araw ng Magsasaka sa IRRI (Farmers' Day at IRRI) to learn about the latest rice-farming technologies. Read more | Photos on flickr

2 October. Vol. 13, No. 4 (October-December) issue of Rice Today was published--IRRI's new breeding factory. View

12-20 October. IRRI Deputy Director General for Research Matthew Morell traveled in India to review ongoing collaborative activities and projects with the Central Rice Research Institute (CRRI), Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT), IRRI's South Asia Breeding Hub at ICRISAT, and the Bihar Agricultural University (BAU). Read more

18 October. The secretaries of agriculture of India, Bangladesh, and Nepal signed an agreement to fast track the release of any rice variety undergoing proper evaluation protocols in any one of their countries. Acting rapidly on this revolutionary and courageous agreement, in February 2015, India directly released four rice varieties from Bangladesh and two from Nepal for similar agroecologies in India. This agreement will not only fast track varietal releases, but also bring huge savings of time and resources to the three countries. Read more

Bob Zeigler during his IRC2014 keynote address
Bob Zeigler on the IRC2014 keynote (Photo: J.R. Cabañero)

27 October-1 November. The 4th International Rice Congress (IRC2014) was held in Bangkok at the International Trade & Convention Centre (BITEC), under the patronage of the Royal Government of Thailand and organized by IRRI. The week-long event, called the "Olympics of Rice Science" attracted around 1,500 delegates from 69 countries to discuss "Rice for the World" and its implications for half of humanity's food security. View story on keynote presentation of Robert Zeigler | View 5:36 YouTube video highlights of Zeigler keynote | View YouTube video playlist | Read about the 5th Temperate Rice Conference incorporated into IRC2014 | Read about the Investors' Forum during IRC2014

30 October. At the gala dinner of the 4th International Rice Congress, IRRI recognized: (1) another crop of five outstanding alumni, truly innovators in rice science. View group photo | Read about them in Rice Today (2) 29 young rice scientists for their research. View group photo | View 2:25 YouTube video (3) Dr. Ramani Kumar Sarkar as the winner of the Yoshida Award for Rice Physiology Research for 2014. View photo (4) Ms. Thelma Fermin Padolina as the winner of the Senadhira Rice Research Award for 2014. View photo

31 October. During the 4th International Rice Congress, an IRRI-led new effort was launched to seek significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from rice cultivation--part of the Agriculture Initiative of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (CCAC). Read more | Read related SciDevNet article

6 November. IRRI Director General Robert Zeigler appeared on a segment of Channel NewsAsia's public affairs program, Insight, entitled The Hungry Planet. He stated that "climate change and the effects of increasing greenhouse gas in the atmosphere will change and make more challenging rice production scenarios in the future, Rising sea levels and rising temperatures are a reality."

10 November. In Beijing, Chinese Vice Minister Li Jiayang and IRRI DG Robert Zeigler meet to exchange views on strengthening science and technology cooperation between China and IRRI. Read more

21 November. (1) Observing the 20th anniversary of IRRI's Riceworld Museum (1994-2014), the Institute held a special event for local students in the region. Read more | View YouTube video playlist (2) IRRI Director General Robert Zeigler was featured in a Wall Street Journal op ed piece in which he was depicted as both a plant scientist and environmentalist who is growing a second Green Revolution and championing Golden Rice, which could save millions of children from blindness and death. Read more

24 November. The IRRI community bade farewell to three departing international staff members: Leigh Vial, experiment station head; Elizabeth Humphreys, water scientist; and Sunil Jhunjhunwala, IRRI's first controller.

26 November. In Hanoi, Vietnam's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and IRRI jointly crafted a strategy to boost the country's rice industry. Read more | View 1:40 video on YouTube