Recipients will pursue research dedicated to improving rice and wheat breeding
Today, in celebration of the 2012 Borlaug Dialogue, The Monsanto Beachell-Borlaug International Scholars Program announced its fourth set of fellowship recipients.
The program recognizes the importance of rice and wheat as key staple crops in addressing global hunger. It honours the accomplishments of Henry Beachell, Ph.D. and Norman Borlaug, Ph.D., who pioneered plant breeding and research in rice and wheat, respectively, by providing funding support to develop the next generation of scientific leaders.
In total, the Monsanto Beachell-Borlaug International Scholars Program has supported 52 students from 21 different countries since its formation in 2009. Monsanto is funding the program for five years for a total of $10 million. The program is administered by Texas AgriLife Research, an agency of the Texas A&M University System.
This year's 14 recipients are citizens of seven different countries including the United States, China, Iran, India, Thailand, Mexico and Tajikistan. The four women and ten men honoured with this year's fellowship will pursue research dedicated to improving rice and wheat breeding with sponsoring professors and universities from around the world.
Each recipient receives support to pursue his or her research in one of these two important crops. In rice, recipients' projects include: breeding for water use efficiency and drought resistance, developing high-yielding varieties, characterizing root systems for water scarce conditions. In wheat, recipients' projects include: resistance to parasitic nematodes, identifying and characterizing new stem and leaf rust, molecular breeding to improve yields and quality of wheat varieties.
A complete listing of the winners and their projects is available on the Monsanto Beachell-Borlaug International Scholars Program Web page.
The 2012 recipients will be attending the events of the World Food Prize, including the World Food Prize Laureate Award Ceremony. The World Food Prize honours outstanding individuals who have made vital contributions to improving the quality, quantity or availability of food throughout the world.
An independent panel of global judges chaired by Ed Runge, Ph.D. Monsanto Beachell-Borlaug International Scholars Program Director, reviewed the applications. Runge is also a Professor and Billie B. Turner Chair in Production Agronomy (Emeritus) within the Soil and Crop Sciences Department at Texas A&M University at College Station.
"These students represent the future innovators in agricultural research in two of the world's most important crops," said Runge. "Beachell and Borlaug were passionate scientists and it is only fitting that their legacies are inspiring future generations of plant breeders who could have tremendous impact on the welfare of billions of people that rely on rice and wheat for their daily nutrition."
"Plant breeding is both an art and science practiced for thousands of years in agriculture that continues to develop improved crops," said Ted Crosbie, Ph.D., vice president with Monsanto Company and long-time plant breeder. "The Monsanto Beachell-Borlaug International Scholars program seeks to ignite continued interest in plant breeding within two of the very important crops, rice and wheat, to help encourage desired characteristics, like larger grain size, heartier stalks, or greater tolerance to environmental stress. This will improve the next generation of plants, making a better crop available for people around the world."
The program will begin accepting applications for 2013 on Nov. 1, 2012. Students interested in applying to the program can find more details at www.monsanto.com/mbbischolars. Applications will be accepted until Feb. 1, 2013.