Hyderabad: The Governing Board of the Hyderabad-based International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) today announced the appointment of Dr David Bergvinson as the next Director General of ICRISAT for a five-year term, effective January 1, 2015.
He will replace the current Director General, Dr William Dar, who has served the institute,?a non-profit, non-political organisation that conducts agricultural research for development in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa with a wide array of partners in different parts of the world, since 1999.
Dr Bergvinson is currently with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, USA, as Senior Program Officer, Crop Value Chains and Digital Design for Agriculture Development. He has been with the Foundation since 2007.
In this role, he has accelerated the development and delivery of farmer-preferred products and services for staple crops in the developing world through formulating strategies, forging partnerships and applying digital technologies.
He currently represents the Foundation on the CGIAR Fund Council, according to an ICRISAT statement.
"Dr Bergvinson has a well-articulated passion for smallholder agriculture, and a strong desire to improve the lives of the hundreds of millions of impoverished small farmers and their families living in the semi-arid tropics of Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa," it said.
"Science is a means to mitigate poverty, eradicate malnutrition and provide environmentally sustainable solutions to the most pressing challenges faced by the smallholder farmer. ICRISAT can achieve the impossible by forging strong partnerships with the public, private and civil society sectors," said Dr Bergvinson.
Prior to joining the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Dr Bergvinson was a senior scientist with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center at its Mexico headquarters for over 12 years.
He has interacted with ICRISAT scientists on projects dealing with grain legumes, village level studies, seed systems and digital technologies in smallholder agriculture.
He will lead the institute`s work programme to advance agriculture in the tropical drylands of Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa as well as uptake of its five mandate crops critical for the drylands - sorghum, pearl millet, pigeonpea, chickpea and groundnut.
Dr Bergvinson obtained his BSc in Biochemistry and Masters of Pest Management from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada, and his PhD in Biology from the University of Ottawa, Canada. He completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in maize biochemistry and pathology.