Our research

RTB organizes research around five linked and interactive flagship projects (FPs).

Flagship 1: Enhanced genetic resources

This flagship develops and applies leading-edge science toward building advanced tools, methods, models and systems to improve accuracy and scale of breeding and shorten selection cycles. It also adds value to genebanks through enhanced conservation research, the linking of genes or traits to genebank accessions and the increased characterization of diversity, all of which will guide varietal and trait development pipelines for enhanced uptake and impact.

Flagship 2: Adapted productive varieties and quality seed

This flagship develops improved RTB varieties with novel breeding targets, methods and processes that will be applied to accelerate genetic gains for key traits across all RTB crops. It uses participatory, gender-sensitive tools to understand the traits and criteria that stakeholders consider when adopting or rejecting varieties. End-user intelligence guides breeding processes to ensure that novel breeding targets are integrated. Similarly, FP2 aims to develop and make available good-quality planting materials of diverse, advanced RTB crop varieties that meet the needs and preferences of value chain actors. Predictive modeling and foresight work helps to assess future production, processing and consumption needs that current endusers might not otherwise takes into account, so that breeding considers what RTB varieties might need under current and future climates.

Flagship 3: Resilient crops

This flagship seeks to close yield gaps of RTB crops vulnerable to biotic and abiotic threats, and will monitor pest and pathogen movement, assess risks and design responses for new threats. It also aims to develop more climate-resilient and ecologically sustainable production systems, thereby strengthening food security and improving natural resource quality and ecosystem service provision. 

Flagship 4:  Nutritious food and added value

This flagship aims to harness the nutritional potential of RTB crops more widely, expand their utilization and add value through postharvest innovation. Researchers collaborate with breeders to design and develop more nutrient-dense RTB crops, including biofortified varieties, and promote other market-preferred traits. Market development research will strengthen demand-pull and accelerate uptake of nutritious and profitable varieties. FP4 addresses the perishability of RTB crops through improved storage, transportability and diversified use; it promotes gender-equitable development and youth employment along the value chain. FP4 develops improved methods for postharvest process modeling that integrate technical, economic and environmental aspects and enhance the sustainability and profitability of the postharvest sector.

Flagship 5:  Improved livelihoods at scale

This flagship aims to enhance socio-technical innovations in RTB-based agri-food-systems, to improve smallholder livelihoods, with special attention on gender equity and youth employment. FP5 develops sophisticated tools, methods and approaches that facilitate the analysis of trends and opportunities of RTB crops and competing enterprises through quantitative modeling and stakeholder engagement; and guides investments for actors at household, landscape, value chain and policy levels. Co-learning, capacity development and participatory testing of RTB innovations will guide FP1–FP4 and encourage innovation in livelihood systems. This flagship not only stimulates sustainable intensification of RTB systems for market capture, but also supports diversification of RTB crops so that smallholders realize improved livelihood resilience and nutrition. FP5 strongly engages with other CGIAR Research Programs and their complementary flagships.