A new blog update from Roots, Tuber and Bananas Program Director Graham Thiele after the team meetings in Nigeria.

It was fantastic to have all our theme leaders and other scientists come together for the ISTRC symposium and meeting at Ibadan. Thanks to all for believing in this and making the effort to take part and really contribute! The soft launch of the RTB in the ISTRC plenary went really well, and I got lots of favorable comments. It was a great chance to share our ideas with a broader group of stakeholders. The logistical challenges took a bit of a toll on several of us who came down with the flu, myself included… but on the upside, the strenuous conditions helped us come together as a team. I enjoyed many presentations and posters at the symposium and took advantage of the chance to meet a lot of interesting people and pick up some good leads for developing the RTB. As one of the few institutions which cross-cuts several of our crops, the ISTRC is really worth supporting, so all in all I think we should count this as “mission accomplished”!

The meeting in Ibadan was a good chance to take stock of where we are in implementing the cross-cutting work in the themes. The ideas generated before and during the meeting with inputs from our focal points about how to improve collaborative processes will help us do a much better job next year. There are some big new ideas coming from the Consortium Office about linking performance and resource allocation to outcomes which we will have to grapple with. On the plus side, the priority-setting process we launched will put us in a good place to do this. We were fortunate to have scientists from CIRAD and IRD join us as this gave more substance to our thinking about engaging partners.

For those who stayed on for the kick-start meeting for the joint theme 1 and 2 project, this was really the ‘icing on the cake’. There are still some tricky issues to be addressed in terms of shared platforms, but there was a great collaborative spirit dedicated to moving the project forward and an eagerness to understand the value added from the genomics and metabolomics platforms. Let’s continue forward.

Graham Thiele
RTB Program Director
Photo: IITA