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From harmonious endings to new beginnings: IBP seeking Host Institution

The CGIAR Generation Challenge Programme (GCP) wishes to invite interested and qualified institutions to make a Formal Offer to host the headquarters of its Integrated Breeding Platform, a web-based one-stop shop where crop breeders can:

  • access purpose-built informatics tools and databases to manage a plant-breeding programme;
  • obtain essential crop-breeding services and professional support;
  • find new knowledge, access training courses and resources; and,
  • discuss pertinent issues with their peers in various online social fora.

Formal Offers must be submitted by 15th February 2014, and a decision on a Host Institution will be made by April 2014.


Related documents:


Online course – The age of sustainable development

Source: https://www.coursera.org/course/susdevOffered by Columbia University, USA, this free online course starts on January 21st 2014, and will be taught through one-hour lecture videos, requring a time commitment of 5–7 hours per week, spread over a 14-week period.

It is open to all interested students.

The course provides an introduction to the interdisciplinary field of sustainable development, drawing on the most recent developments in the social, policy, and physical sciences. The fundamental question is how the world economy can continue to develop in a way that is socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable.

The Course Instructor is Jeffrey Sachs, of Columbia's Earth Institute.

More details, including introductory video

Wheat examined: Crucial questions, with answers from Richard Trethowan on video


The reasons to invest in wheat research are manifold, as recounted by Richard Trethowan in a brand-new six-part Q&A video series on wheat research at GCP.

Wheat P.Kosina CIMMYT-square-150Richard, who is GCP’s Product Delivery Coordinator for wheat, Professor of Plant Breeding and Director of the Watson Grains Research Center at the Plant Breeding Institute, University of Sydney, Australia, takes us back to the distant past to a set of ancestral species which have shaped and nourished mankind for millennia. He begins by explaining how wheat – a Sergeant Major in the cereal army – is a fundamental force in the battle against food insecurity, how its full firepower is yet to be tapped by plant science, and carries out a comprehensive reconnaissance mission on the crop’s geographic limits.

Richard-Trethowan-video-series-240In Part 2 he goes on to discuss the nations occupying the first and second slots in wheat production worldwide – China and India – and offers an apt equation for increasing production whilst working against the odds with an increasing population and a constantly changing climate. Part 3 examines the seasonal varieties of wheat grown in different regions of China and India, which partially explains the disparity in production between the two countries. GCP’s Integrated Breeding Platform (IBP) is the topic of Part 4. Richard sets the scene for wheat researchers in today’s information-overloaded world, pinpointing IBP as a source of useful tools for making the most of available breeding data.

IBP-New-LogoPart 5 talks uptake of tools touched on previously. Here, Richard laments how developed-country users might feel locked into a long-used legacy system, whilst simultaneously celebrating the chance for developing countries to forge ahead with the new technology. In Part 6, he delights in the diversity of doers from different destinations involved in the IBP initiative, and ends on a high note, stressing how stakeholders the world over can benefit from IBP technology.

See the series in full and vivid colour on the GCP YouTube Channel! Alternatively, you can get the whole wheat helping in the consolidated video version here.

Dialogues on drought and agriculture


Cracked-earth N-Palmer CIAT-square-web-200

From where we sit, 2013 has been an active year on how to combat drought in agriculture. The GCP community and others were certainly out in force this year, discussing and comparing notes on this fickle and flighty yet pernicious and persistent problem.

We’ve attempted to capture some of these interactions in a blogpost that is a veritable pot pourri of events, keynote addresses, journal articles, and of books and book chapters on combatting drought. But it’s not all desolate and bleak: we conclude with good news on cassava research (and researchers!) in Nigeria, and how it all began. More



IBP finishes the year with fresh faces



newLOGO-IBP-50GCP is pleased to announce the addition of two new people to the Integrated Breeding Platform (IBP) staff team:


  • Shawn-Yarnes-portrait-cropped-150-172
    Shawn Yarnes
    Shawn Yarnes is the Genotyping Support Service (GSS) Scientist, effective 11th November, from her base in Davis, California, USA. She will be managing GSS projects for molecular breeding/genetics and advising grant recipients on their breeding approaches and genotyping alternatives to meet their research objectives. In addition, she will give grant recipients guidance on their project workflow and for their data analysis using IBP tools or any other tools available. More details are in the original vacancy announcement.

    Shawn holds a PhD in Molecular Biology. She has experience in plant breeding and genomics, molecular biology and bioinformatics. Her particular speciality in plant breeding genomics education will be particularly beneficial for producing manuals and tutorials for IBP tools. Welcome on board, Shawn!

  • Valerie-Boire-cropped-web-150
    Valérie Boire
    Stepping into the role of IBP Communications Officer is Valérie Boire, who joined the team on 15th November, and will be relocating to Mexico in early December. Her work is on IBP-related communications, as well as promotion and marketing. More details on her role are in the vacancy announcement.

    Valérie is not entirely new to GCP, and those who attended GRM13 will no doubt remember her. In case you don’t, here’s a photo to jog your memory, and our interest in her then is now fully declared!

    Conversant in English, French and Spanish, Valérie brings communications and marketing experience from the public and private sectors in Cuba, Guatemala, Bolivia and USA, as well as in her native Canada. Valérie has a degree in Public Relations from the University of Montreal, with continued learning in intercultural adaptation, training and web design. Welcome, Valérie!

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