The Borlaug Global Rust Initiative (BGRI) is hosting a virtual technical workshop September 9 around building resilience in the face of global challenges to wheat. 

The 2022 BGRI Virtual Technical Workshop, held in conjunction with the second International Wheat Congress (IWC), features technical sessions from leading experts at national, regional and global institutions about the latest advances in wheat science.

The online-only event is open to all and free for registrants. The four-hour workshop kicks off at 8 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time. 

At the workshop, presenters from around the globe will lead in-depth talks and discussions on critical areas of wheat science, including plant breeding, pathogen surveillance, climate resilience/abiotic stresses, seed systems and variety adoption. Alison Bentley, director of the Global Wheat Program at CIMMYT, will provide the keynote address. 

“Wheat feeds the world,” said Ronnie Coffman, vice-chair of the BGRI and international professor in Cornell’s Department of Global Development and School of Integrative Plant Science. “This year’s BGRI Technical Workshop is a chance for scientists to gather and think critically about the science of wheat and ways to safeguard the crop in the future.”

“A strong and enduring community of collaborative scientists is essential to maintaining wheat security in the most vulnerable areas of the world,” said Maricelis Acevedo, associate director for science at the BGRI and research professor of global development at Cornell University. “This year’s BGRI Technical Workshop is an essential venue for national and global scientists to share knowledge and forge resilient networks at a time when challenges are mounting against global food security.”

At the workshop, the BGRI will announce the winner of the 2022 BGRI Gene Stewardship award and recognize the newest recipients of the Jeanie Borlaug Laube Women in Triticum (WIT) awards. The Gene Stewardship award honors excellence in the development, multiplication and release of rust resistant wheat varieties that encourage diversity and complexity of resistance. The WIT awards acknowledge exceptional mentors and women scientists working in wheat in the early stages of their careers.

The IWC is being held Sept. 11-15 in Beijing, China with the theme: “Future Wheat: Resilience and Sustainability.” The IWC provides opportunities for participants from around the world to share the latest progress and to develop recommendations for future wheat in terms of research, technology and transfer.

The BGRI is a community of hunger fighters dedicated to protecting the world’s wheat. The BGRI formed in 2005 in response to a novel strain of rust discovered in East Africa that posed risks to global wheat production. Norman Borlaug galvanized global scientists and donors to combat that threat and other disease pressures.

The initiative and workshop are made possible through the Accelerating Genetic Gains in Maize and Wheat (AGG) project supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.