Monsanto Beachell-Borlaug Program Announces 2010 Winners

ST. LOUIS, June 21, 2010 / PRNewswire-FirstCall / -- The Monsanto Beachell-Borlaug Interna

ST. LOUIS, June 21, 2010 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The Monsanto Beachell-Borlaug International Scholars Program today announced its second set of fellowship recipients, featuring seven women and seven men from around the world dedicated to improving rice and wheat breeding.

Eleven countries are represented among the group, including three winners from India. Each recipient receives a full package of support to pursue his or her research. Recipients' projects include: enhancing resistance to aphids in wheat; developing rice for cold tolerance in Brazil; and improving drought tolerance in wheat. A complete listing of the winners and their projects is available on the Monsanto Beachell-Borlaug International Scholars Program Web page.

The program honors the accomplishments of Dr. Henry Beachell and Dr. Norman Borlaug, who pioneered plant breeding and research in rice and wheat, respectively.

"What excites me the most is that within the first two years of the program, we've had winners from 17 countries and universities represented on six continents," said Monsanto Beachell-Borlaug International Scholars Program Director Dr. Ed Runge. "This is truly a program with global reach. The panel of judges and I are confident the students are making a difference in the breeding research behind two of the world's most important crops."

Of the 14 winners, six are pursuing their Ph.D. at U.S. universities, two in India and one each in Brazil, England, Malaysia, the Netherlands, South Korea and Sweden. The program calls for award recipients to conduct two seasons of field work split between a developing country and a developed country. The dual country experience is to ensure that students gain a worldview early in their careers, Runge said.

"The students' contributions to agriculture and science will have an impact on rice and wheat production for generations," Monsanto Vice President of Global Plant Breeding Ted Crosbie said. "The projects are innovative and impressive, and many of us in the agriculture community look forward to reading about their results."

An independent panel of global judges chaired by Runge reviewed the applications. Runge is also a Professor and Billie B. Turner Chair in Production Agronomy (Emeritus) within the Soil and Crop Sciences Department at Texas A&M University at College Station.

The program will begin accepting applications for 2011 on Nov. 1, 2010. Students interested in applying to the program can find more details at Applications will be accepted until Feb. 1, 2011.

Monsanto is funding the program for five years for a total of $10 million. The program is administered by Texas AgriLife Research, an agency of the Texas A&M University System.