The SGRP Technical Exchange Fellowship Programme was initiated as the result of a decision by the Inter-Centre Working Group on Genetic Resources (ICWG-GR) at their 2008 Annual Meeting to invest the US$10 000 prize money received from the CGIAR Science Award for Outstanding Partnership that was given to the CGIAR genebank community in 2006. The exchange programme was conceived to enable locally recruited genebank technicians from one Centre to learn from and share their experiences and expertise with their counterparts at another Centre, and promote cross-fertilization between genebanks at the operational level.
The programme was funded using the CGIAR Outstanding Partnership Award money, which was then complemented with matching contributions from FAO and the GPG2 project. A call for proposals was circulated to the Centres, and the six proposals received were approved by the ICWG-GR at their extraordinary meeting in November 2008. As a result, genebank technical staff from AfricaRice, ICARDA, ICRISAT, ICRAF, IITA and IRRI made extended visits to genebanks at CIMMYT, ICRISAT, ILRI and IRRI under the Technical Exchange Fellowship Programme in 2009.
The Exchange Fellows spent from four to six weeks at a sister Centre, and had the opportunity to observe firsthand the genebank, laboratory and field operations at the host Centre and to interact with and work alongside the research and technical staff there. A few Fellows also visited the national genetic resources programme in the host country. For some, it was their first opportunity to visit another genebank. The Fellows made useful observations and recommendations to their counterparts based on their own knowledge. On return to their home Centre they made further recommendations for improving operations at their home genebank based on the experiences and skills acquired during their exchange visit.
Without exception, the Fellows felt that the exchange programme provided them with a rewarding experience that increased their technical expertise and overall confidence as genebank professionals. Aside from the Fellows’ exposure to new and alternative techniques and methods, many new personal friendships and strong professional alliances were forged that will facilitate future communication and collaboration between the technical staff at the CGIAR genebanks.
This summary report is a compilation of the individual reports submitted by the Technical Exchange Fellows themselves, and reflects their deep personal commitment to their work and the extent to which they were able to take advantage of this opportunity to advance their professional development that was enabled through the reported herein.
SGRP. 2010. Summary Report of the Technical Exchange Fellowship Programme 2009. SGRP Secretariat. Rome, Italy. 51 p.