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CRIL keeps busy

The Crops Research Informatics Laboratory (CRIL) has been very busy lately, with staff crisscrossing the globe to participate in training and information exchange. From 05 February to 05 March, CRIL members were involved in at least five information sharing events. Several involved collaboration with other CGIAR centers.

In early March, Arllet Portugal, and Juan Carlos Alarcón attended an International Crop Information System (ICIS) meeting in Perth, Australia, during which they met with staff from the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and Bayer CropScience and members of the Department of Agriculture & Agrifood from the countries of Brunei and Australia. Talks focused on future development of ICIS and user needs. In February, Portugal had previously worked with data managers and breeders from CGIAR centers and other national agriculture research institutes to help them manage data in the current version of ICIS.

Further training on ICIS took place at CIMMYT-El Batán led by Claudio Ayala, Ismael Barrera, and Andrés Corona, and at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Nigeria, where it was led by Hector Sánchez. One of CRIL’s goals is to integrate CIMMYT and IITA’s maize programs in ICIS to facilitate information sharing. At IITA, the training included scientists focused on maize, cassava, banana, and cowpea, and IITA expressed interest in following the CRIL approach to implement ICIS for these crops. Additionally, the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) will implement ICIS for sorghum and chickpea.

Last month Guy Davenport presented plans for a new, user-friendly and configurable version of ICIS at the Molecular Breeding Platform (MBP) launch workshop in Hyderabad, India. And in Maputo, Mozambique, Sánchez outlined data management for the Water Efficient Maize for Africa Project (WEMA) at that project’s annual progress meeting.