Thursday, April 16, 2015

New Indian agricultural university and IRRI commit to building next generation of rice scientists

Hyderabad, India - Building the next generation of rice scientists is one of the main goals of a memorandum of agreement between the recently established Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University (PJTSAU) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).

Robert Zeigler says that building this next generation of scientists has been a high priority since he started as IRRI’s director general in 2005. “So, I would like to see meaningful postgraduate exchange programs, in which some PhD students conduct part of their research at IRRI headquarters in Los BaƱos and MSc students can work in our research hub in Hyderabad, where the university and IRRI have overlapping programs.”

Zeigler suggested that PJTSAU scientists in their early and mid-careers spend one or two years at IRRI through a sabbatical-type arrangement.

According to PJTSAU chief officer V. Praveen Rao, his staff expressed enthusiasm regarding the opportunity to collaborate with top international rice scientists. He says that both the student exchange program and capacity building of their staff are some of his university’s own priorities.

Aside from capacity building, PJTSAU and IRRI will collaborate in R&D in rice. The MOU provides for sharing research and knowledge, technology and tools, as well as seed materials.

The MOU reflects objectives shared between PJTSAU and IRRI to promote and accelerate research on rice and rice-based farming systems and strengthen natural resource management research programs.

“After listening to the kind of research that the university does, I am now aware that our interests have a clear interface,” says Matthew Morell, IRRI deputy director general for research. “This is a great time for biological research as we now have advanced tools in genomics. We now have the ability to do phenotyping work better than before and we have a great flow of information that we can share and communicate from around the world.”

“It is really an extraordinary time to build a career in rice research and bring through another generation of rice scientists who can carry the torch further,” says Dr. Morell.

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