Integrated Breeding Platform - A Partnership

The Generation Challenge Programme (GCP) of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) is building the IBP in collaboration with 14 initial ‘user cases’ (see table and map) – breeding projects for eight crops in 32 developing countries in Africa and Asia. This ensures IBP development is driven by real breeder needs and its interface is user-friendly.

The breeding projects that make up the user cases cover:

  • Drought tolerant maize for Africa and Asia;
  • Stress-tolerant and green super rice for poor farmers in Africa and Asia;
  • Drought-tolerant and rust-resistant wheat for Asia;
  • MARS for higher-yielding sorghum for Africa;
  • Drought tolerant and higher yielding beans, cowpeas and chickpeas for marginal environments in Africa and Asia; and
  • Higher-yielding and more resilient cassava for Africa's drought-prone environments.

The researchers working in these use cases are designated as user testers for the tools and services of the Integrated Breeding Platform - providing feedback from iterative development and testing cycles. The Communities of Practice bring in additional users by virtue of their wider scope and mandate, hence incorporating into the IBP development process experiences and perspectives that may not be covered by the use cases.

IBP is proposed to open up to additional users from 2012, with full unfettered access scheduled for 2014.

Communities of Practice

By providing forums and other community tools via a user-friendly portal, IBP will  stimulate the development of crop- and discipline-based communities of practice (CoPs). The CoPs will promote application of molecular breeding techniques and utilisation of facilitative information management technologies, enhance data and germplasm sharing, and generally advance modern breeding capacity by linking CGIAR Centres and advanced research institutes with developing-country breeding programmes and research organisations.

They will also facilitate and accelerate a paradigm shift to a more collaborative outward-looking, technology-enhanced approach to breeding.

Funders

The project is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the European Commission and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development. The IBP Business Plan envisions the platform carrying on as a sustainable CGIAR service supported in part by annual fees paid by members of a formal IBP user community. Strategic guidance is provided by the Scientific and Management Advisory Committee (SiMAC) – comprised of leading professionals drawn from relevant fields, many from the private sector.

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