Rice and wheat are two staple food crops critical to the food security of more than 3 billion people around the world. Together, they feed more than half the world’s population; however, productivity in these two crops has remained relatively static for decades due in part to limited research investment.
The program is named after two great scientists who are among the fathers of modern agriculture, Drs. Henry Beachell and Norman Borlaug. These two men are credited with saving more than 1 billion lives worldwide thanks to their innovative thinking and ability to fight for the causes they so fervently believed in.
Monsanto launched the Beachell-Borlaug International Scholars Program in 2009, offering fellowships, which today total $13 million for highly motivated individuals seeking a Ph.D. in rice or wheat plant breeding. Through these fellowships, scholars gain the leadership skills, education and tools to positively impact rice and wheat farmers around the world and improve the future of agriculture.
Currently, the program has recently awarded fellowships to its fifth class of scholars: this group of 12 students represent 10 countries. The program has awarded fellowships to a total of 64 scholars representing 25 different countries. Texas A&M University manages the program and Dr. Ed Runge,, a longtime friend of Dr. Borlaug, distinguished professor and agronomist, is the program director and judging panel chair.