Thursday, December 1, 2016

IRRI joins leading biotech centers to promote universal biotechnology stewardship

LOS BAÑOS, Philippines—The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) has been granted membership into a global agricultural technology stewardship program that promotes responsible management of plant biotechnology research. The program’s focus is to develop and encourage implementation of ethical practices and educating the public about those practices.

Excellence Through Stewardship (ETS) is a global nonprofit organization that promotes the universal adoption of stewardship programs and quality management systems for the full-life cycle of agricultural technology products. The organization assists its members in the implementation (or improvement) of stewardship programs and quality management systems and facilitates auditing by independent third parties to verify them.

IRRI recognizes the importance of ensuring responsible conduct of transgenic research with the highest ethical standards in its operations and activities. It also knows the potential risk of intentional and unintentional release of transgenic materials, which may result in reputational, financial, and/or operational damage. IRRI’s regular membership in ETS paves the way for it to successfully complete a third-party independent audit. ETS recognition will serve as a testament to IRRI’s standard of excellence in transgenic research.

IRRI’s application for regular membership was facilitated by the Transgenic Stewardship Office under the newly created Research Infrastructure and Operations Unit of the office of the Deputy Director General for Research. The application was evaluated by the ETS Board of Directors and membership acceptance was confirmed on 17 November.

ETS membership is open to technology companies, academic institutions, public and private research organizations, seed producers, licensees, and other service providers engaged in discovering, developing, handling, or commercializing biotechnology-derived plant products.

In addition to IRRI, the CGIAR-member institutes accepted by ETS are the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture. Other organizations holding ETS membership include BASF Plant Science, Bayer CropScience, Monsanto Company, and Syngenta Seeds Inc.

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