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Awards and Accolades

Dr. Ruaraidh Sackville Hamilton receives Crop Trust Legacy Award

Ruaraidh Sackville Hamilton, former head of the International Rice Genebank, received the Crop Trust Legacy Award for his outstanding contribution in the field of plant genetic resources conservation. At IRRI, he was involved in safeguarding rice genetic resources, facilitating their effective and responsible use in compliance with international obligations, and developing new approaches to improve their conservation and use.

“This Legacy Award signifies a global recognition of the Institute’s work and commitment to conserve rice genetic diversity through the International Rice Genebank, which has been a significant force in shaping our future impact,” said Dr. Hamilton.

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Bangladesh honors Dr. MD. M Abdul Mazid for contributions to national food security

The Bangladesh Government presented the Swadhinata Padak 2018 Award to Md. M Abdul Mazid, a former IRRI agronomist, for his work on rice research and development that helped improve food security in the country. Dr. Mazid was recognized for his work that spans over 40 years in developing the rice-based agri-food systems of Bangladesh. Among his accomplishments are mitigating Monga, the yearly cyclical phenomenon of poverty and hunger in Bangladesh, accelerating the development of rice varieties that can tolerate flash flooding, pioneering seed production, and training Bangladeshi farmers.

The Swadhinata Padak 2018 or Independence Award is the highest civilian honor the Prime Minister of Bangladesh bestows upon individuals who have made remarkable contributions in their respective fields.

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Former IRRI Director General Robert Zeigler receives 5th class of the Most Noble Order of the Crown of Thailand

IRRI Representative for Southeast Asia Dr. David Johnson receives The Most Noble Order of the Crown of Thailand 5th Class on behalf of former IRRI Director General Dr. Robert “Bob” Zeigler.

For his significant contribution and leadership towards strengthening the Kingdom of Thailand’s rice sector, the former IRRI Director General Robert Zeigler was conferred the Most Noble Order of the Crown 5th Class. In his more than ten years of service as IRRI Director General, Dr. Zeigler’s valuable leadership and support of joint initiatives have enhanced the close partnership between Thailand and the Institute.

Such collaborations have led to breeding better rice varieties, development of rice protection systems, adoption of seed technology innovations, and capacity building of personnel from Thailand’s Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives. This award also distinguishes IRRI as an organization that has been key to increasing yield and livelihood opportunities for Thai farmers.

Leading women rice scientists recognized for solutions to global food and nutrition security

Tamal Lata Aditya of Bangladesh and Amitha Bentota of Sri Lanka were conferred with the Senadhira Rice Research Award, named after the late Dr. Dharmawansa Senadhira, for their innovative ideas and use of enabling technologies. Their body of work helped contribute to a reliable supply of high-quality and safe rice for a growing global population in the face of changing consumer needs, diminishing resources, and complex environmental challenges.

Dr. Aditya has significantly contributed to the development and dissemination of over 12 improved rice varieties and 12 promising advanced breeding
Awards and Accoladeslines that primarily respond to drought and yield challenges. As the research director of Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI), she is instrumental in setting and implementing the institute’s research agenda.

Over the course of her career, Dr. Bentota shifted from rice research to a position of policy leadership at the Department of Agriculture in Sri Lanka where she is currently the assistant director. Her area of focus as a rice breeder and geneticist is addressing iron toxicity and acidity in soils and improving yield in these unfavorable conditions.

Student research in herbicide effects on amphibians receives environmental award

Molly Shuman-Goodier, a PhD student from the Northern Arizona University, was awarded the best PhD platform presentation during the Spotlight Session at the globally renowned Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.

The key findings of her doctoral dissertation, Invasive cane toads: Good for something? Developmental assays reveal safety concerns of the common rice herbicide, butachlor, support recent work indicating that the rice herbicide butachlor causes thyroid endocrine disruption in vertebrates and that wildlife and human health are at stake when exposed to this herbicide in the rice fields. Ms. Shuman-Goodier is supported by IRRI’s CORIGAP, a project funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

IRRI-supported Rice Corp wins prestigious Hult Prize

The social enterprise Rice Corp was awarded the 2018 Hult Prize by former US President Bill Clinton for its proposal to deliver better sustainable drying technology to reduce rice loss while increasing farmer income in Myanmar.

Rice Corp, in partnership with IRRI, plan to bridge the gap between off-the-shelf rice drying technology and rice farmers that cannot afford the technology. Access to this leading edge drying technology reduce rice wastage and provides farmers in approximately 100 villages with better profitability for their crops.

Three scientists named Outstanding IRRI Alumni

IRRI recognizes outstanding people from the community of former staff, scholars, interns, trainees, and postdoctoral fellows for their scientific contributions in rice research and innovation, particularly for work that has breathed life into IRRI’s strategic goals. The Outstanding Alumni for 2018 are:

  • Dr. Muhammad Abdul Hamid Miah, former Executive Chairman of Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council and former Director General of BRRI and Bangladesh Jute Research Institute.
  • Dr. Phetmanyseng Xangsayasane, Deputy Director for Research, Rice Research Center, National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Lao PDR.
  • Dr. John Munji Kimani, Director of Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization and Mwea - Industrial Crops Research Centre.