Tuesday, December 18, 2012

China presents friendship award to IRRI scientist

IRRI soil scientist Roland Buresh (second from left)
receives the Guangdong International Friendship Award.

Roland Buresh, IRRI soil scientist, was presented the Guangdong International Friendship Award for his contributions to the three-controls project across the province.

The three-controls technology has become the major extension technology of the Ministry of Agriculture and of Guangdong Province. By 2011, the technology had been applied in 5 provinces and regions, reaching 46 million units and effecting rice grain increase of 1.45 billion kilograms.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Busy week in India: Third International Agronomy Congress, ICAR-IRRI Work Plan signing, and PAU 50th anniversary

Bob Zeigler (leftmost), with Indian President Pranab Mukherjee (center) and leaders of Indian agriculture
and academe during the 50th founding anniversary of the Punjab Agricultural University.

The global rice research agenda was the focus of a plenary talk given by Robert Zeigler, IRRI director general, during the Third International Agronomy Congress held at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute in New Delhi, 26-30 November.

The congress was held for the country's agriculture sector to take stock of technology capital available for agriculture diversification, climate change management, and livelihoods; and to draw future research strategies to address the 'emerging matrix of agriculture problems in a holistic manner.'

Philippines: Rice as health staple featured in Biotech Week

Rice is a staple food for almost all Filipinos, and could be a vehicle for nutrients lacking in the regular diet in a sustainable way. Research activities pertaining to the development of rice as a healthier staple was one of the highlights of IRRI’s participation in the week-long celebration of the 8th National Biotechnology Week (NBW), together with partners from the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice).

Low-income residents of Makiling foothills get free health advice and medicines

IRRI's community health education and medical mission is moving from the shores of Laguna de Bay to serving residents of the foothills of Mt. Makiling.

The Host Country and Community Relations Office partnered once again for this activity with medical doctors from the Philippine Army General Hospital. The army doctors have previously given health counseling and consultations to more that a thousand residents of Barangay Sta. Cruz in Bay, Laguna, for free.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Photo contest winners announced

Winning photos

More than 90 photos were received as entries to the recent AFSTRI Photo Contest that was open to IRRI staff, scholars, and researchers. The winners in the three categories are:

Research environment in IRRI:
1. Andrea Lynn N. Lazaro (researcher, C4 Rice Project), with her photo captioned, “The headless researcher”
2. Nikki Arivel Larazo (researcher, C4 Rice Project)
3. Evangeline Pascual (MS affiliated scholar, PBGB)

Daily life in IRRI:
1. Michael Thomson (scientist, PBGB), with his photo captioned, "Working at th foot of Mt. Makiling"
2. Nikki Arivel Larazo (researcher, C4 Rice Project)
3. Benjamin Straube, (MS research scholar, CESD)

Nature in IRRI and Los Baños:
1. Michael Thomson (scientist, PBGB), with his photo captioned, "Red dragon"
2. Reena Jesusa Macalalad (MS thesis research scholar, PBGB)
3. Benjamin Straube, (MS research scholar, CESD)

The top winners will be awarded cash prizes and certificates while the rest others will be given certificates of recognition on 7 December 2012, during the AFSTRI general assembly.

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

IRRI breeding marks 100,000th cross

Rice breeding in IRRI marked a milestone in the Institute's mission to help feed the world—its 100,000th cross.

A simple yet meaningful gathering to mark the breeding milestone was held on 29 November 2012 at N.C. Brady Laboratory in IRRI, which houses the Plant Breeding, Genetics, and Biotechnology division. The event was attended by IRRI staff and members of management, as well as retired breeders who saw through the early years of breeding in IRRI.

Lao PDR: Success stories in irrigated rice presented

"It is worthwhile to invest in rice research,” said Carmen Thoennissen, senior advisor of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation or SDC.

Dr. Thoennissen's remark sums up assessment of and discussions held at the conclusion of Phase IV of the work of the Irrigated Rice Research Consortium (IRRC). Key success stories from Phase IV were presented and discussed at a workshop and steering committee meeting held in Vientiane, Lao PDR, on 21–22 November2012.

Indonesia: Training on fan testing held in South Sumatra

Twenty participants from the academe, manufacturing, and the government extension arm attended a training event on fan testing and evaluation.

The training course had emphasis on fan testing procedures, data gathering, and data analysis and included an open forum for discussing issues in postharvest, particularly paddy dryer operation.

Philippines: CURE hosts IFAD’s 5th country review

V. Bruce J. Tolentino, IRRI's head of communications and
partnerships, addresses ACPoR participants in a
dinner hosted by CURE at the IRRI Guesthouse.
The fifth Annual Country Programme Review (ACPoR) of IFAD—a meeting of representatives of IFAD-assisted programmes/projects in the country—was hosted this year by the Consortium for Unfavorable Rice Environments or CURE, jointly with the International Potato Center and the World Agroforestry Centre.

During the ACPoR, participants review implementation experiences, share project good practices, discuss problems encountered, and find solutions to improve program or project performance.

Second offering of RDM 201 course for IRRI staff

The second offering of the Research Data Management 201: Advanced SQL was held on 27-29 November 2012 in IRRI.

In RDM 201, some advanced functions and queries that can be useful when building more complex applications were introduced. The course was also a refresher on basic database management skills, taught by having participants look at and define the structure of a relational database system, compared to the hierarchal model of handling data.

Laboratory weighing scales ISO-calibrated

An institute-wide calibration of weighing scales is ongoing at IRRI on 27 November-7 December, as an initiative of IRRI's Risk Management and Quality Assurance team.

One hundred fourteen units from research, including analytical, top-loading, and bench scales will be calibrated by ISO 17025-accredited Metrologie Concepts Solutions. A calibration certificate is provided for each unit.

Monday, December 3, 2012

African and Asian women train to be leaders of change

Twenty-five women from Africa and Asia came to IRRI for the 5-day Leadership course for African and Asian women in research and extension, an effort toward developing a cadre of women who can lead their respective institutions in addressing gender issues in research and in the workplace and facilitate the improvement of livelihoods of women in the grassroots.

The course aims to help women scientists, policymakers, research managers, project managers, and extension workers develop leadership skills and become effective agents of change in the agriculture sector.