Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Nine years at IRRI, nine years of change

IRRI Seminar

By Sigrid Heuer
Senior scientist (molecular biology)
Plant Breeding, Genetics, and Biotechnology Division

1315-1415 H, Thursday, 22 November 2012 November
Havener Auditorium, IRRI

Video of Sigrid's seminar on Ustream (72:17)
Sigrid's slides on Scribd


IRRI has grown tremendously since 2003. We have come a long way since the times we have had to share computers and only two functional PCR machines in the lab. The process of “turning IRRI upside-down” was initiated with a series of strategic planning exercises that challenged all of us to think hard about our mission, where we should go, and how we are going to get there.

At the time, IRRI was also going through the transition from being a mainly core-funded institute to having fully project-funded research, a move that increased demand on time and skills needed to develop and manage competitive grants and to reach quantifiable project outputs. Due to that sometimes truly painful process, IRRI has renewed its leading role in rice research and has strengthened its influence and impact.

I was very fortunate for the chance to be part of that process and to have worked, initially, with David Mackill on the submergence project, which is now one of the most widely known and high-impact projects of IRRI. What I learned during that early phase has helped me a lot to gradually grow up—from part-time consultant to senior scientist—and be able to lead the Pup1 project through its various stages of desperation and hope. The recent success of the Pup1 project is the result of hard work and, more importantly, the true devotion of the many great people who worked with me over the years.

In my exit seminar, I will present the most important research findings embedded in a personal reflection of my 9 years as a woman scientist in IRRI.

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