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IRRI receives Conviron Green Leaf Award for rice science tech investments

22 February 2018, Los Baños, Philippines - In recognition of its efforts to develop technologies that provide solutions to the challenges facing the rice sector, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) received the 2017 Conviron Green Leaf Award.

Conviron, a global leading design, manufacturing, and installation company of plant growth rooms and chambers, presents the Green Leaf Award to “organizations that have made significant investments in new technology that will drive discovery and progress in plant science and agricultural production”, said David Napier, Territory Manager for Australasia at Conviron.

IRRI, according to Napier, has earned the Conviron Green Leaf Award for two main reasons. One is its demonstration of excellence in rice research. “IRRI has the unique capacity to bring together lead researchers from all over the world to create programs and develop rice production technologies that are communicated from the scientists down to the farmers,” he explained.

Napier added that IRRI also earned the award because of the people behind its efforts in solving problems in the rice sector. He said that with IRRI’s contributions to this collective effort, rice research is always in “good hands”. Seeing how passionate IRRI is for what the company provides and represents, Napier views the Institute as more than just a customer, but a partner. “We look forward to 30 or 40 more years of solid partnership with the Institution”, he added. IRRI’s has a long-standing relationship with Conviron, which goes as far back as the 1970’s.

Dr. Jackie Hughes, IRRI Deputy Director General for Research, expressed her pride and gratitude upon receiving the award as it serves as validation of IRRI’s status as the center of excellence in rice research. Hughes considers the award a “reminder of the purpose to which IRRI is committed, and an acknowledgement of our innovation and research excellence.” She also shared this success with “IRRI’s partners, donors, and investors who have supported the Institution to meet its mission”, emphasizing the need to maintain “strong relationships and, if possible, to make these even stronger”.

Over the years, IRRI has conducted rigorous rice research as part of the mission to ensure food and nutrition security for future generations. To further this purpose, it constructed the Lloyd T. Evans Plant Growth Facility (PGF) in 2016. Unique to the facility is its tools and equipment powered by Conviron technology. Aiming for an elite breeding of germplasm, the facility has an area dedicated to seed processing, and separate rooms for seed storage. It is also equipped with phytotrons and greenhouses that enable the simulation of various climate scenarios, which helps researchers and scientists examine and predict the impacts of climate change on plant growth.

“Crucial to IRRI’s receiving the Green Leaf Award is the Australian Center for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), which funded the investments required in constructing the PGF,” said Dr. Gururaj Guddappa Kulkarni, Senior Scientist and PGF Supervisor at IRRI. Such investments, he added, have allowed for exploring further areas of rice science research, with IRRI at its forefront.

With the Green Leaf Award added to its list of recognitions, IRRI is expected to receive more support from partners and donors, and maintain and forge new partnerships to improve technologies and enhance rice production.