This week, during August 6-8, the Generation Challenge Programme (GCP) held the kick-off meeting for its current round of six two-year projects at CIMMYT’s El Batán headquarters, bringing together 31 scientists from around the world.
Each project focuses on aspects of using genomic science to explore and harness crop genetic diversity, and employing useful genes to generate improved varieties. CIMMYT’s Matthew Reynolds is leading a project looking for genetic markers for drought tolerance in wheat that can be used in breeding programs.
The teams worked on detailed delivery plans, focusing on end users, their needs, and how to ensure project products reach them. “It’s a new way of thinking, taking our philosophy into concrete targets,” says Carmen de Vicente, GCP Sub-programme Leader in capacity building. “It’s a big motivator, and I think everyone’s worked very hard and learned a lot.”
It was also “a great opportunity to get to know our collaborators,” says Reynolds. The teams included scientists from CGIAR and other advanced research institutes, and also from national programs. “It’s important that everyone is engaged,” says de Vicente. “By integrating delivery into the planning, our national partners share in the feeling of ownership of the project and its outcomes.”