Thursday, June 23, 2016

RICE proposal receives positive reviews

MONTPELLIER, France—The new RICE proposal has received positive reviews from the CGIAR Independent Science and Partnership Council (ISPC) during a CGIAR science leaders meeting here on 16 June.

According to the ISPC review, RICE is a conceptually sound, compelling, and articulate proposal that addresses the issue of improving rice production across the developing world. It is founded on clear comparative advantage for CGIAR. Historically, investment in rice research has a proven track record of contributing to CGIAR goals.

The RICE proposal builds on the successful Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP); it maintains a large emphasis on genetic improvement while making the case, through its foresighted studies, of a broadening of this CGIAR Research Program (CRP) to an agri-food system. RICE has a very strong partner base and looks at further strengthening the CRP, in particular by seeking additional agricultural research institutes (ARI) as partners.

The proposal offers a scientifically rigorous case to deliver measurable impacts on the system level outcomes (SLOs). The research activities of RICE range from upstream and basic research to plant-level research (variety selection), through to the delivery of new varieties and management practices to the end users, including farmers and rice processors. The change and impact pathways are logical and plausible.

“There is, of course, always room for improvement,” said Bas Bouman, GRiSP director. “The ISPC has requested us to develop an addendum with some further clarifications to our proposal, following four main recommendations they provided.

“But we are not being asked to make any changes in the proposal itself, although one of the four recommendations suggests we critically review the feasibility of our proposed targets or outcomes,” he said.  “Most of the observations actually commended us on a job well done! With the Program Planning and Management team and the leaders of RICE flagship projects, we will develop a response to the ISPC review and submit addenda to the RICE proposal by 1 July.”

After the resubmission of the proposal, along with any addenda, the ISPC and the donors on the System Council will again review and rate the proposal in the coming months. It is hoped that RICE will be approved by December 2016.

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