Who we are

RTB Leaders

graham-thiele

Graham Thiele

Director, CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB)

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Graham Thiele, PhD, Director, CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers, and Bananas (RTB). Graham is a social scientist and expert in targeting, priority setting, and impact and adoption studies of new agricultural technologies. He spent 17 years with the International Potato Center (CIP), most recently as the Leader for Social and Health Sciences. Graham has worked in Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Tanzania, Kenya, Benin, Rwanda, Indonesia, and the Philippines. He helped develop, implement, and assess several, novel participatory methodologies designed to link farmers with markets, inform research agendas, and promote innovation in policies, products, and technology uptake. Graham holds a PhD in Social Anthropology and an MSc in Agricultural Economics. Email: g.thiele(at)cgiar.org
Robert Domaingue

Robert Domaingue

Deputy Director, Mixed Research Unit, Genetic Improvement and Adaptation of mediterranean and tropical plants, CIRAD

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Email: robert.domaingue@cirad.fr
Stephan Weise

Stephan Weise

DDG Research, Bioversity

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Stephan Weise is Deputy Director General for Research at Bioversity International. He is in his 4th year at Bioversity International, where he initially managed the Commodities for Livelihoods Programme, developing commodity-based innovation system approaches; promoting the emergence of a culture of innovation at the local level; encouraging the sharing of knowledge, information and technologies across stakeholders; and integrating the generation of income with sustainable natural resource management practices. He also worked for 16 years with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) on a variety of programmes in West and Central Africa linked to enhancing productivity of smallholder farming systems, systems diversity and sustainability, and public-private partnership and innovation platforms. Stephen holds a PhD in agricultural sciences from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich. Email: s.weise(at)cgiar.org
Oscar Ortiz

Oscar Ortiz

DDG Development, International Potato Center

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Oscar Ortiz is the Deputy Director General for Development of the International Potato Center (CIP). He began his career at CIP in 1992 working on impact assessment of integrated pest management as a member of the Social Sciences Department. He was then appointed leader of the Integrated Crop Management Research Division from 2004 to 2011. During 2012 he was the leader of the Integrated Crop and systems Research Global Program, and he was appointed Deputy Director of Research for Regional Science Programs. He has ten years of experience in leading and managing interdisciplinary teams involving both biophysical and Social Sciences. Vast experience in participatory research and training related to integrated insect and disease control, integrated crop management (ICM), agronomy and seed management; impact assessment of research and extension activities; use of the agricultural knowledge and information systems, and of innovation system approaches for research and development; leading seed-related teams on potato and sweetpotato as part of ICM-related research and development; research related to innovation systems. He has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals, book chapters and conference proceedings. Oscar holds a PhD in agricultural innovation and rural development from the University of Reading. Email: o.ortiz(at)cgiar.org
Joe Tohme

Joe Tohme

Agrobiodiversity Research Area Director, CIAT

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Joe Tohme is currently the leader of the Agrobiodiversity and Biotechnology project at CIAT. He helped set up the CIAT molecular markers lab and implement the molecular characterization of genetic diversity and mapping of agronomical traits in bean, cassava, rice, and Brachiaria. His expertise is in plant breeding and biotechnology.  Joe has a Ph.D. in Crop Science from Michigan State University.  Email: j.tohme@cgiar.org
robert-asiedu

Robert Asiedu

R4D Director, IITA

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Robert Asiedu is the Director, Research for Development, for IITA-West Africa. He also leads the Institute’s work on Biotechnology and Crop Improvement. He is a plant breeder, whose main research interest is on tropical root and tuber crops, especially yam and cassava. From the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) he joined the Root and Tuber Improvement Program of IITA in 1989. His initial research was on cassava and its wild relatives but he spent most of his time on yam research. He has held various leadership or management roles in IITA since 1991. Robert holds a PhD degree in Agricultural Science from the University of Adelaide, Australia. Email: r.asiedu@cgiar.org 

Theme Leaders

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Nicolas Roux

Leader Theme 1: Genetic Resources

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Nicolas Roux, PhD, Senior Scientist, Genetic Resources and Genomics, Bioversity International. For the past 25 years, Nicolas has been involved in projects related to the conservation, safe exchange, characterization, evaluation, improvement, and distribution of vegetatively propagated crops, with an emphasis on banana and plantain. With experience in both the field and laboratory, he has applied expertise in transferring modern techniques to support conventional breeding programs. He has conducted training in this area and missions to Asia, Africa, and Latin America. In 2003, Nicolas joined Bioversity International as Global Musa Genomics Consortium (GMGC) Coordinator and soon after became the Project Coordinator for Genomics and Genetic Resources. The work of the GMGC was one of the major drivers behind the recently concluded sequencing of the Musa genome. Nicolas holds a PhD in Plant Biology from Palacky University in the Czech Republic. Email: n.roux(at)cgiar.org
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Augusto Becerra

Leader Theme 2: Development of Varieties

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Augusto Becerra Lopez-Lavalle, PhD, Senior Scientist, CIAT. Augusto is a cassava molecular geneticist. He joined CIAT in 2009 after working in cotton molecular genetics at CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation), Division of Plant Industry, Canberra, Australia. He has a strong knowledge of statistical analysis, biometrics, quantitative genetics, molecular marker development, genetic mapping, marker validation, structural genomics and gene discovery. He holds a master’s degree in Science, majoring in Cytogenetics from Cayetano Heredia University, in Lima, Peru. During his MSc. Candidature Augusto joined the International Potato Center (CIP) where he undertook his MSc research work focusing on sweetpotato. He holds a PhD in Plant Molecular Genetics from the University of Sydney, Australia. Email: l.a.becerra(at)cgiar.org

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JamesLegg

James Legg

Leader Theme 3: Managing pests and diseases

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James Legg is a scientist at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, with more than 20 years experience of working on plant viruses and their insect vectors. Most of James’ professional career has focused on strengthening understanding of cassava viruses, and using that improved understanding to develop and facilitate the promotion of control strategies. In addition to playing a direct active role in research, James has also contributed to strengthening African science capacity through producing training materials, leading training workshops and supervising post-graduate students. James has been based at IITA East Africa hub in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, for the last seven years, and he has been involved in running several regional R4D projects focused on cassava viruses, their whitefly vectors and the development and implementation of sustainable seed systems. Email: j.legg(at)cgiar.org  

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Jorge Andrade-Piedra

Jorge Andrade Piedra

Leader Theme 4: High quality planting material

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Jorge is a scientist at the International Potato Center (CIP), with eighteen years of experience in research and development with small-scale potato farmers in the Andes with CIP and INIAP (Ecuador’s NARI). He is a member of the American Phytopathological Society and the Latin-American Potato Society. His research interests include epidemiology of potato late blight, seed systems, and innovation systems. Jorge obtained a PhD in Plant Pathology with minors in Epidemiology and International Agriculture from Cornell University, a M.Sc. in Plant Pathology from La Molina University in Lima, Peru and a B.Sc. in Agronomy (high honors) from Central University in Quito, Ecuador. His did post-doctorate studies in Cornell University and in CIP. Email: j.andrade(at)cgiar.org
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Stefan Hauser

Leader Theme 5: Ecologically robust cropping system

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Root & Tuber agronomist and Leader for Theme 5 (Developing tools for more productive, ecologically robust crops), CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers, and Bananas (CRP-RTB). Stefan is a systems agronomist with a strong soil science and natural resource management background and an expert in plantain and maize agronomy. He worked in Nigeria for 5 years for a fertilizer company and has been with IITA in Nigeria, Cameroon, and DR Congo. Stefan helped establish IITA in DR Congo and run the research farm of IITA Cameroon for 12 years. His current portfolio focuses on cassava and yam agronomy with special attention to nutrient supply, fallow and soil management, and the role of soil organisms in soil fertility maintenance. Stefan does not believe in crop-based systems but in systems supporting crops. Email: s.hauser(at)cgiar.org

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Dominique Dufour

Leader Theme 6: Post harvest and markets

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PhD, Researcher in Food Science & Food Engineering, CIRAD (French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development, Montpellier, France), currently out-posted to Fruits & Cassava Programs at CIAT, Cali, Colombia. Dominique is the Leader of Theme 6 (Promoting postharvest technologies, value chains, and market opportunities) of the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers, and Bananas (RTB). For over 25 years he has specialized in adding value to cassava, sweet potato, yam, cocoyam, taro, plantain, and minor RTB crops in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. He has studied how consumer preferences affect varietal adoption by farmers and how consumer or end user expectations inform the research process; for example, defining quality requirements for processed RTB products regarding shelf life, texture, nutritional/antinutritional values, and more. Dominique’s research also focuses on equipment for eco-friendly industrial processes using life cycle analysis methodology (especially water and energy use) to bring new products to market with minimum environmental costs. Dominique holds a PhD in Bio-industry, “Enzymatic Engineering, Bioconversion & Microbiology”, from the University of Technology of Compiègne, France. Email: d.dufour(at)cgiar.org

Focal Points

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Inge Van den Bergh

RTB Focal Point at Bioversity

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Inge Van den Bergh is a Senior Scientist at Bioversity International, specialized in the evaluation of banana diversity. She develops and leads Bioversity’s research agenda in the area of evaluating Musa genetic resources, the  International Musa Testing Program and promoting the use of biodiversity to address priority problems, based on an analysis of agronomic traits, host reaction to biotic and abiotic constraints, post-harvest and nutritional properties. She is also coordinating the ProMusa network, a global platform for sharing information and knowledge on bananas (www.promusa.org). In this role, she promotes effective communication within the banana R4D community, oversees the online banana knowledge resource centre and databases, and is responsible for the organization of international conferences and workshops. Inge graduated as Bio-Engineer from the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium in 1997 and obtained a PhD in nematology from the same university in 2002. She has been working for Bioversity since 1997, first as Associate Scientist in Vietnam and the Philippines, then from the Bioversity office in Montpellier, France, and since 2014 based in the Bioversity office in Leuven, Belgium. Email: i.vandenbergh(at)cgiar.org
Robert Domaingue

Robert Domaingue

RTB Focal Point at CIRAD

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Email: robert.domaingue@cirad.fr
clair-hershey

Clair Hershey

RTB Focal Point at CIAT

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Clair is the leader of the cassava program at CIAT in Cali, Colombia. Between 1978 and 1991 he worked as a cassava breeder in CIAT. He then left to manage a family farm in Pennsylvania, USA. Between 2009 and 2010 he worked at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome for the Global Initiative for Plant Breeding (GIPB). Since 1996 he is also the editor of the Plant Breeding News, an electronic newsletter sponsored by Cornell University and FAO. Clair holds a PhD in Plant Breeding from Cornell University, New York. Email: c.hershey(at)cgiar.org
JamesLegg

James Legg

RTB Focal Point at IITA

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James Legg is a scientist at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, with more than 20 years experience of working on plant viruses and their insect vectors. Most of James’ professional career has focused on strengthening understanding of cassava viruses, and using that improved understanding to develop and facilitate the promotion of control strategies. In addition to playing a direct active role in research, James has also contributed to strengthening African science capacity through producing training materials, leading training workshops and supervising post-graduate students. James has been based at IITA East Africa hub in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, for the last seven years, and he has been involved in running several regional R4D projects focused on cassava viruses, their whitefly vectors and the development and implementation of sustainable seed systems. Email: j.legg(at)cgiar.org
philippe-monneveux

Philippe Monneveux

RTB Focal Point at CIP

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Philippe is in charge of internal research management at CIP in Lima, Peru, in collaboration with the Deputy Director General for Development. He joined CIP in January 2010, after 30 years working as a scientist and research manager. His main areas of scientific expertise are physiology, breeding, and management of genetic resources. Philippe worked as a professor in France and Senegal, and in 2000 he joined CIMMYT in Mexico to work as a physiologist in the Wheat and in the Maize Programs. He also worked for the CGIAR Generation Challenge Program, where he led research projects and was responsible for product management. Philippe holds a PhD in Crop Physiology and an MSc degree in Agricultural Sciences, both from the University of Montpellier, France. Email: p.monneveux(at)cgiar.org

Steering Committee

Barbara Wells

Barbara H. Wells

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Dr. Barbara H. Wells is the Director General of the International Potato Center (CIP), joining the organization in early 2014.  She is an accomplished senior executive with extensive scientific and business experience in research, general management, strategic planning, regulatory processes, and the technical development and commercialization of products in agricultural and forestry markets throughout the world. Her agriculture and forestry expertise spans more than 30 years. Throughout her career, Dr. Wells has worked directly with farmers to apply science at the farmer level to improve their livelihoods and productivity. In her previous post as Vice President of Global Strategy at Agrivida, Inc., a firm that develops enzyme solutions for animal nutrition and feed-stocks for the production of biofuels and bio-products, Dr. Wells was responsible for planning and implementing the company’s global commercial development strategy and scientific collaboration activities with an initial focus on Latin America. From 2002 to 2012 she was President and Chief Executive Officer of ArborGen, Inc., a global forestry tree seedling, and tree breeding business. In this post Dr. Wells led the transformation of the organization from a start-up biotechnology company to a fully operational business with commercial sales of more than 250 million tree seedlings in the US, New Zealand and Australia. Prior to joining ArborGen, Dr. Wells was Vice President responsible for growth initiatives and investments in Latin America for Emergent Genetics, an agricultural investment firm. Dr. Wells previously spent 18 years at Monsanto as Co-Managing Director of Brazilian operations and in several leadership roles in field product development across the world for many crops including cotton, corn soybeans, tree crops, and other products. Dr. Wells has spent a large part of her life outside of the USA. She grew up in Peru and Bolivia and spent much of her career based in Brazil. She is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese. Her move to CIP is in keeping with her ambition to improve the livelihoods of the world's poor farmers, and to drive forward the mission of CIP in food security and nutrition. Dr. Wells received her Ph.D. in Agronomy from Oregon State University, her M.S. degree in Plant Pathology and her B.S. degree with Honors in Horticulture from the University of Arizona.  
glaszmann

Jean-Christophe Glaszmann

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Dr. Jean-Christophe Glaszmann is a researcher at CIRAD, the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development, in Montpellier. Initially trained in plant breeding and ecological genetics, he conducted research on the assessment and use of genetic diversity in diverse crops such as rice, sugarcane, sorghum or banana. His major impacts were obtained with a deep revision of the classification of rice varieties that influenced all the breeding programs at IRRI and with the characterization of the sugarcane genome in comparison with other grasses, which opened the field of sugarcane genetics. He has been director of AGAP, a major joint research unit (over 160 scientists) in Montpellier, focussed on tropical and Mediterranean plant genetic improvement and crop adaptation (2010-2014). Before that he was in charge of the Biological Systems (Bios) Department in the Board of Directors at Cirad (2007-2010). He also led the Sub-Programme on crop genetic diversity of the CGIAR Generation challenge programme from 2004 to 2010. In 2008 he received the Top Award (Prix Jean Dufrenoy) of the French Academy of Agriculture. He is member of the Genebank Advisory Board member at the IPK Gatersleben Leibniz Institute. His current area of research is the use of phylogeographic approaches for assessing genetic diversity in crop germplasm in relation to human populations. He is also leading initiatives for linking research across continents through training and capacity building in plant breeding. e.mail   glaszmann@cirad.fr
Ann Tutwiler

Ann Tutwiler

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Dr Ann Tutwiler is the Director General of Bioversity International, an international research for development organization that is a member of the CGIAR Consortium. As the Director General, Tutwiler is responsible for leading Bioversity International, forging effective research partnerships and overseeing the organization’s strategic priorities and research agenda. Tutwiler has almost 30 years of experience in agricultural policy and development working in the public and private sectors. Tutwiler was formerly the Special Representative of the Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) in Geneva. She served as Deputy Director General, Knowledge, at FAO from January 2011 through November 2012, where she coordinated the development of cohesive Rome food agency positions on Rio+20 for FAO, with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the World Food Programme (WFP) and Bioversity International. As a member of senior management at FAO, she managed five technical departments including Agriculture & Consumer Protection, Natural Resources Management & Environment, Forestry, Fisheries & Aquaculture, Economic & Social Development and Office of Knowledge Exchange, Research & Extension. From June 2009 to January 2011, she worked for the Secretary for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), leading and coordinating USDA’s participation in the President’s 'Feed the Future' initiative and developing USDA’s international research strategy. Previously, she served as Senior Advisor of International Affairs for the U.S. Agency for International Development. She created and managed the agricultural markets program at The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation from 2006 to 2009. Tutwiler was Government Relations Director for a multinational agribusiness firm for ten years and co-founded a global think tank in agricultural trade policy. Tutwiler holds a master’s degree from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree from Davidson College, where she received the John W. Kuykendall Award for Community Service in 2005. She holds certificates in Agribusiness from Purdue University and Harvard Business School.
Eugene Terry

Eugene Terry

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Dr. Eugene Terry is a Senior Technical Adviser of TransFarm Africa an organization devoted primarily to removing systemic barriers to investing in African agricultural enterprises. Eugene has held leadership positions in international institutions including that of first Director General of the West Africa Rice Development Association. He has held the position of Plant Pathologist at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA, Ibadan), Land and Crops Advisor in the Agriculture and Rural Development (ARD) Department, of The World Bank, and Founding Director, of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), Nairobi, Kenya.

Dr Terry has served as a Trustee on the boards of several organizations including the World Vegetable Centre (the Asian Vegetable Research Centre (AVRDC) Taiwan, The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI). He is currently a member of the board of Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Development (SFSA), in Basel, Switzerland, and the Chair of the Advisory Board of the West African Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI), University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana. Dr Terry also chairs the BecA-ILRI Hub Advisory Panel. Eugene holds a PhD in plant pathology from the University of Illinois, USA.

Dunstan Spencer

Dunstan Spencer

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Dr. Dunstan Spencer is a professionally qualified agricultural economist. He is currently an independent Consultant, based in Freetown, Sierra Leone, in which capacity he has been a team member and leader in a number of agricultural project identification, design, appraisal supervision and evaluation missions on behalf of international organizations such as FAO, the World Bank and UNDP, as well as a number of Foundations such as Rockefeller and Ford. Dr Spencer has led major farming systems research projects in international research organizations in the CGIAR system including the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and the West Africa Rice Development Association (WARDA). He has also been the Chairman of the of Board of Directors of the Sierra Leone National Agricultural Coordinating Council (NARCC), and the Sierra Leone Agricultural Research Institute and has also chaired the Board of an international research institute (The International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology – ICIPE, in Nairobi, Kenya). Dr Spencer holds a PhD in Agricultural Economics from the University of Illinois, USA.
Yvonne Pinto

Yvonne Pinto

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Dr. Yvonne Pinto directs the Agricultural Learning and Impacts Network (ALINe) at Firetail which provides high quality technical services, research, advice, and facilitation for robust monitoring, evaluation and learning in the agricultural development sector. A key focus is building the capacities of multiple organizations and governments to measure their effectiveness properly. She was formerly Deputy Investigator at Agriculture for Impact at Imperial College. She has worked previously with UN FAO-GFAR to organize the first GCARD. She has spent 20 years supporting effective institutions and 15 years with the Bill and Melinda Gates and Gatsby Charitable Foundations making and supporting grants to a diverse set of agricultural, microfinance and microenterprise programmes (including roots, tubers and bananas). She sits on various Boards and Steering Committees, including the WorldFish Board. She is also an experienced mentor with extensive Management and Leadership experience.

Dr Pinto holds a PhD from the University of London’s Imperial College at Wye, UK.

Helen Hambly

Helen Hambly Odame

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Dr. Helen Hambly Odame is an Associate Professor of Capacity Development and Extension in the School of Environmental Design and Rural Development at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. Before joining the UoG in 2003, Helen worked in international R&D programs in Africa, North Africa and Latin America. From 1996 to 2003, she was a Research and Training Officer with the International Service for National Agricultural Research, formerly part of CGIAR. Helen has also worked with environment and development agencies such as the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the Institute of Marine and Terrestrial Ecology. Broadly defined, her research traverses information, knowledge and communication in agricultural and rural innovation systems.  She is the co-author of three books and many refereed papers on topics such as agricultural knowledge translation and transfer and information and communication technologies. Helen has a longstanding interest in international development and environmental issues, especially those affecting women farmers. Dr Hambly holds a PhD in Environmental Studies from York University, Canada.

Alfredo Augusto Cunha Alves

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Dr. Alfredo Augusto Cunha Alves is a Senior Research Scientist at Embrapa Cassava & Fruits (CNPMF), Cruz das Almas, Bahia, Brazil. is a Senior Research Scientist at Embrapa Cassava & Fruits (CNPMF), Cruz das Almas, Bahia, Brazil. Dr. Alves has strong technical expertise, with long experience as plant physiologist and genetic resources specialist in cassava and wild Manihot species. He has had a long association with CGIAR, including two years sabbatical at CIAT as Coordinator of the Cassava Biotechnology Network for Latin America and the Caribbean (CBN-LAC) in 2003-2004. Dr. Alves has worked both in science and in research management in assignments such as, Coordinator of the Embrapa National Cassava Research Program; Senior Researcher at Embrapa Labex-USA program in the area of genetic resources, working at the National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation (NCGRP-ARS-USDA), in Fort Collins-CO; and coordinator of the International Technical Cooperation at Embrapa-HQ, in Brasilia-DF. Dr. Alves holds a PhD in Plant Physiology from Cornell University
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Rupert Best

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Dr. Rupert Best is a Director at Catholic Relief Services, stationed in Bogotá, Colombia. He leads an interdisciplinary team of experts that provides technical assistance to CRS’ development programs in Latin America and the Caribbean. The team is specifically charged with building the organization’s expertise and capacity to influence public, private and civil society development policy and practice. He is a rural and agricultural research and development specialist with specific interest in linking smallholder farmers to markets and agro-enterprise development. Prior to joining CRS in November 2010 and a 4-year spell as an independent consultant, Rupert worked for 25 years with the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) at its headquarters in Cali, Colombia. At CIAT, he was Head of the Cassava Utilization Section (1984-1989), Leader of the Cassava Program (1990-1996), and Manager of the Rural Agroenterprise Development Project (1997-2004). During this period he undertook assignments in CIAT’s regional office in Uganda (2002-2004) and was ultimately seconded to the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR) in Rome (2004-2006) where he was responsible for the Global Partnership Programs. He initiated his career with the United Kingdom’s Tropical Products Institute, London. Dr. Best holds a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Birmingham, UK