World-class agri genomics center to rise in PH university

LOS BAÑOS, Philippines, Dec. 7, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), the South Korean government through the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), and International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) are set to construct an on-campus agricultural genomics research center to advance genome-based agriculture capabilities in the country.

The new UPLB Agricultural Genomics Research Center (AGRC) is part of a six-year collaborative venture with KOICA for the joint conduct of capacity building activities, strengthening academic partnerships between UPLB and Korean universities and, in turn, improving the country’s agricultural research competitiveness.

“As we lay the foundation of AGRC today, may it become a beacon for scientific progress and sustainability not only in the Southeast Asian region but also throughout the world,” said UPLB Chancellor Jose V. Camacho on the project.

The collaboration provides deserving students opportunities to earn doctoral degrees from Korean universities and includes an MS sandwich research program at IRRI. IRRI has also developed ten advanced agricultural science internship programs and provides proper guidance to program scholars through high-impact research activities within the facility’s new laboratories and existing facilities in IRRI.

“This facility is but one of the many steps that we will be taking together as we endeavor to develop more sustainable and efficient agricultural practices for farming communities all over the world. Ultimately, we hope that this space can foster scholars who can help farmers worldwide improve their competitiveness and productivity amidst global challenges” said IRRI Interim Director General, Dr. Ajay Kohli.

Ahead of the center’s construction, the capability enhancement component of the program has already benefited more than 1,800 participants. In addition to providing seed funding, the Republic of Korea, through KOICA, will continue to dispatch experts to provide additional technical advice and assist in finalizing the center’s operational plans and training.

“With the support of IRRI, this project promises a strengthened science and technology adaptation in agriculture. KOICA strongly believes that today’s collaboration will also contribute to the country’s agricultural competitiveness and improving food security in the Philippines,” said KOICA Vice President, Hon. Lee Yun Young.

The Ambassador of Korea to the Philippines, Hon. Lee Sang Hwa also cited AGRC as a testament to the close partnership between Korea and the Philippines and a significant move toward addressing food security, poverty and rural community development in the Philippines. 

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SOURCE International Rice Research Institute