Grand Challenges in Global Health – GC9 meeting in Beijing, China

Drs Rachel Chikwamba (Principal Investigator of the Africa Biofortified Sorghum project) and Maretha O’Kennedy – both from CSIR Biosciences – recently participated in the Grand Challenges in Global Health, GC9 meeting in Beijing, China from 8 to 11 May 2009.

The goal of the six-monthly research update meeting of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation GC9 project teams was to build mutual understanding of plant science and nutrition goals and efforts and to share highlights of GC9 research programmes to create nutritionally complete staple crops. The meeting placed specific emphasis on Golden Rice, Africa Biofortified Sorghum, BioCassava Plus Programme and Banana Biofortification.

Representatives of the Gates Foundation commended the research teams for their superlative research output over the last three years. Featured highlights included the HarvestPlus China Showcase which included leaders from the Chinese agriculture, plant science and nutrition fields. A new initiative from the National Science Foundation (NSF) also announced partnership with Gates Foundation to foster sustainable agricultural solutions around the world.

The Basic Research to Enable Agricultural Development (BREAD) Program presented by Prof Deborah Delmer – NSF program director for BREAD, will support basic research to build a foundation for generating sustainable, science-based solutions to problems of agriculture in developing countries, testing innovative hypotheses leading to novel and creative approaches and technologies. The Program, which is a continuation of ongoing activities funded under the Plant Genome Research Program, will be supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation through funding provided to NSF.