CAMBIA & IRRI (The International Rice Research Institute) today announced a major joint venture to advance the BiOS Initiative - a new strategy that will galvanize agricultural research focused on poverty alleviation and hunger reduction. The venture is catalyzed by a 2.55M USD grant to CAMBIA from The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway.
The BiOS Initiative – Biological Innovation for Open Society – is often called Open Source Biotechnology. The BiOS model has resonance with the Open Source software movement, famous for such successful efforts as Linux. Open Source software has spurred faster innovation, greater community participation, and new robust business models that break monopolies and foster fair competition. BiOS targets parallel challenges that limit the effective use of modern life sciences in agriculture to only a few multinational corporations.
“New technologies are increasingly tangled in complex webs of patent and other legal rights, and are usually tailored for wealthy countries and well-heeled scientists,” said IRRI’s Director General, Robert Zeigler. “Half the world depends on rice as a staple food – but this also means half the world’s potential innovators could be brought to bear on the challenges of rice production, given the right toolkits – and the rights to use them”.
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