Awards and accolades

The drive to excel

IRRI lead scientist on Golden Rice recognized by Philippine plant science community

The Crop Science Society of the Philippines (CSSP) recently presented the Achievement Award in Research to B.P. Mallikarjuna Swamy, a senior scientist at IRRI, for his significant contributions to the improvement of the nutritional value of rice, and in particular for his outstanding research on Golden Rice that contributed to its food regulatory approval in the country.

The award was in recognition of Dr. Swamy’s expertise and commitment to his work that led to the development of important research for Golden Rice, specifically rice biofortification using transgenic methods and introgressing genes for beta-carotene production in the endosperm of rice. CSSP cited Dr. Swamy’s major role in the issuance of the Golden Rice Propagation Permit in the Philippines, which will make Filipino farmers the first in the world to plant Golden Rice for commercial use. His rigorous studies on Golden Rice’s food compositional analysis and safety provided the Philippines regulatory system for genetically modified organisms with the evidence needed to approve the planting of this biofortified rice in the country.

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IRRI wins Global Food Systems Challenge for arsenic-safe rice

In October 2021, IRRI was announced as one of the four finalists, out of nearly 900 preliminary submissions, in the inaugural Seeding The Future Global Food System Challenge, an initiative by the Seeding The Future Foundation in collaboration with the Institute of Food Technologists.

In January 2022, IRRI received the Grand Prize for its groundbreaking development and deployment of rice cultivars resilient to arsenic toxicity, providing a safer food crop option in arsenic-polluted regions.

The occurrence of carcinogenic arsenic minerals in waterlogged paddy topsoil poses danger to rice production and consumption worldwide. Bangladesh is in desperate need of arsenic-safe rice varieties to solve the problem of arsenic contamination in rice in areas where up to 40 million people are exposed to this class I carcinogen.

“Chronic arsenic exposure has been associated with a variety of potentially harmful health consequences in humans, including skin lesions, hypertension, cardiovascular illness, pulmonary disease, reproductive and neurological dysfunctions, hematological abnormalities, and skin cancer,” said Dr. Jauhar Ali, Research Unit Leader at IRRI. “Arsenic-safe rice will be made freely accessible to farmers, and breeders will be encouraged to incorporate these varieties into breeding programs, allowing arsenic-safe rice to become the new standard. Implementation on a large scale would have a substantial positive socioeconomic impact on the health of consumers and marginal rice-farming communities, particularly women and children.”

Lilia R. Molina receives the Distinguished Achievement Award in Laboratory and Research Management

The Kapisanang Kimika ng Pilipinas-Southern Tagalog awarded Lilia R. Molina, Research Manager and Cluster Leader of the IRRI Service Laboratories, the 2021 KKP-ST, Inc. Distinguished Achievement Award in Laboratory and Research Management.

The citation was given In recognition of her outstanding contributions as an analytical service laboratory head and research manager. Her exceptional managerial skills and technical know-how contributed significantly to raising and sustaining the excellent quality standards of IRRI’s research and
service laboratories.

Ms. Molina manages the team responsible for all grain quality evaluation and analytical testing activities as well as the operational activities of the IRRI Service Laboratories, including the Grain Quality and Nutrition Services Laboratory (GQNSL) and the Genotyping Services Laboratory. She took the lead in the ISO 17025 accreditation of the GQNSL for compliance with laboratory competence.