Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Climate change research facility opens at IRRI

LOS BAÑOS, Philippines - The dedication of the Lloyd T. Evans Plant Growth Facility (PGF) on the campus of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), which will take place at 3 p.m. Thursday afternoon (January 21), emphasizes the Institute’s commitment to working toward food and nutrition security for future generations.

IRRI’s leadership and very special guests will be opening the USD 10 million state-of-the-art structure, within which various climate scenarios can be simulated under controlled environmental conditions and the effects of climate change on plant growth will be better understood.

The PGF was funded by the Australian government through the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), a major partner of IRRI. It is named after Lloyd T. Evans (1927-2015), a world-renowned Australian plant physiologist who also served as a member of the IRRI board of trustees (1984-89).

The dedication rites will take place just one year after the official groundbreaking was held in January 2015.

In addition to Matthew Morell, IRRI director general, and his leadership team, guests slated to attend and speak include Amanda Gorely, ambassador of Australia to the Philippines; Mellissa Wood, general manager for global programs at ACIAR; and John R. Evans, head of the Division of Plant Sciences at the Australian National University.

Dr. Evans, son of Lloyd Evans, will share a message on behalf of the family. Philippine officials who will grace the event will be Proceso Alcala, secretary of agriculture; and Fernando Sanchez, Jr., chancellor of the University of the Philippines Los Baños.

After the unveiling of the commemorative plaque, Abdelbagi Ismail, IRRI’s acting deputy director general for research, will lead the guests on a tour of the PGF.
Climate change is a concern that cuts across the various areas of IRRI's research agenda. Knowing about its implications on rice production, via a better understanding of physiological processes and interactions in the rice plant when subject to changing temperatures, humidity, amount of sunshine, and atmospheric gases, will help scientists develop even sturdier climate-ready rice varieties and improved farming practices.

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

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