ILRI’s Board of Trustees holds its 25th meeting

Highlights from the ILRI Board of Trustees meeting held at the institute's Nairobi campus.

ILRI’s Board of Trustees held their 25th Meeting at ILRI’s Nairobi campus last week (2-5 April 2006). The Program Committee was pleased with ILRI’s research program, noting that ILRI has won eight scientific awards of excellence from the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) in the last eight years. Non-scientific matters covered at this Board Meeting were ILRI’s financial and human resources management and a new partnership policy.

Reporting to staff on these discussions, ILRI Board Chair Uwe Werblow said that the 15 centres that belong to the CGIAR (including ILRI) have formally come together in an alliance to speak with a common voice on agricultural research to reduce poverty, hunger and environmental degradation. The Board Chair went on to report on development of a regional medium-term plan for agricultural research institutes in eastern and central Africa, which is being led by ILRI. The task force involved is working on three fronts, he said: programmatic alignment of all CGIAR centres working in the region, alignment of support services of these centres to achieve greater efficiencies, and closer collaboration of the Boards of ILRI and its sister Future Harvest centre also headquartered in Nairobi, the World AgroForestry Centre (ICRAF).

The Chairman also reported that ILRI’s budget had increased from US$32 million in 2005 to $42 million in 2006. The Board put into place a new policy on how to manage reserves and reviewed its risk management policy. The Board considered a new ‘people management initiative’ at ILRI to be a welcome development and approved the hiring of a human resources manager who would serve at director level.

The ILRI Board welcomed two new members at its April meeting. The first, Dr Aberra Deressa, is an Ethiopian with a PhD in agronomy and soil science from Tashkent Agricultural University, in Uzbekistan. Dr Aberra began his scientific career in 1974 at Ethiopia’s Institute of Agricultural Research, working first as an agronomist, then as coordinator of research extension and finally centre manager. Dr Aberra has made outstanding contributions in research programme development; in extension services, technology transfer and capacity building; and in improving links among widely diverse stakeholders in agricultural development. In 1993 Dr Aberra was appointed Deputy Director General of the Ethiopian Agricultural Research Organisation (EARO), where he served until his recent appointment as State Minister in Ethiopia’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

ILRI’s second new board member is Dr Knut Hove. Dr Hove is Vice Chancellor of the Agricultural University of Norway. He has a PhD in veterinary medicine. He has served as Chairman of the Norwegian Research Committee for research in plants, soils and farm animals, Chairman of the Department of Animal Sciences, NLH, and Deputy Chairman of the National Council on Animal Ethics, Ministry of Agriculture. He has conducted many international collaborations, including those with the University of Nottingham in the UK, the National Animal Diseases Laboratory in Iowa, USA, and Fort Hare University in South Africa.

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