Eight students from Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) awarded the prestigious Monsanto Beachell – Borlaug scholarships


  ~Scholarship programs for research in rice and wheat~

~India has 24 winners – highest for any nation out of 89 awardees worldwide~


Ludhiana, November 16, 2016: Eight students from Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) are amongst the twenty-four Indian winners who have received the prestigious Monsanto Beachell – Borlaug International Scholars Program (MBBISP) Research Scholarships.

The eight students from PAU include Ms. Bhanu Kalia whose research is focused on methodology for efficient mapping of alien introgression for adult plant resistance to leaf rust and other agronomic traits in wheat Aegilops Tauschii Hybrids; Ms. Amandeep Sandhu, whose research is focused in mapping and characterizing Leaf Rust Resistance Gene transferred from Triticum Monococcum L. to wheat (Triticum Aestivum L.); Mr. Dharminder Bhatia, who is doing his research on Molecular Characterization of Inter-Specific Backcross Inbred Lines of Rice for mapping of Yield Related QTLs; Ms. Amandeep Kaur who is doing research on evaluating wild species germplasm for variation in activity of bran lipase (RBL); Ms. Mitaly Bansal whose research is focused on fine mapping and identifying candidate genes for stripe and leaf rust resistance transferred from Aegilops umbellulata to bread wheat (Triticum aestivum); Ms. Palvi Malik who is doing her research on rice under the topic- Genome  wide selection for rapid introgression of desirable alleles for productivity traits from  Oryza Rufipogon into Oryza Sativa; Mr. Gurcharn Singh Brar working in the area of improving genetic resistance to Fusarium Head Blight in durum & brea wheat, and Ms. Karminderbir Kaur, who is working in the area of development of an in vivo haploid induction system in rice through distant hybridization & manipulation of CenH3 gene.

MBBISP is a global program that receives applications from young researchers in the field of agriculture. The program encourages young scientists and university students to develop new plant breeding research for rice and wheat production. Since its inception in 2009, India, has achieved a milestone of highest number of winners with 24 MBBISP scholars, out of a total of 89 awardees worldwide. Of these, five are from Punjab Agriculture University (PAU) which has been at the forefront with path breaking agricultural research and technology since its establishment in 1962.

MBBISP aims to ignite the minds of bright young Indian researchers to innovate and share their vision of Indian agriculture and help the farmers produce more from the same amount of land. It honours the accomplishments of Dr. Henry Beachell and Dr. Norman Borlaug (Recipient of Nobel Prize in 1970), who pioneered plant breeding and research in rice and wheat, respectively. Recognizing the importance of rice and wheat in global food security, Monsanto Company pledged $13 million, over a period of eight years, from 2009-2017, to improve yields in these crops as part of its commitment to sustainable agriculture.

Arnab Das, Director – Corporate Engagement, Monsanto said, “At Monsanto, we believe that increasing agricultural output to meet the needs of a growing population can be achieved through science and innovation. Through the Monsanto Beachell Borlaug International Scholars Program we are encouraging students to undertake research and build solutions to tackle the challenges around hunger and food security. Indian academic talent has great potential and this has been amply showcased by these highly motivated researchers.”

MBBISP was launched in India in 2009 by eminent scientist Dr. MS Swaminathan. The awarding-winning work of the Indian students includes promising breeding research in enhancement of rice and wheat production. The MBBISP Program has provided financial support of approximately $ 9,14,129 to the winners from PAU and over $3Million since 2009 on 24 Indian students that has helped them in pursuing their PHD in plant breeding of wheat or rice at top agricultural universities in India and globally.

The MBBISP fellowship provides recipients with the opportunity to develop advanced breeding techniques, conduct at least one season of field work in a developing country and a full package of support, including a generous stipend, tuition and fees, research fees, health insurance, travel and funds for the collaborating institution and advising professor. The program calls for award recipients to conduct at least one season of field work and/or study in a developing country and one in a developed country. The dual country experience is to ensure that students gain a worldview early in their career. In addition to this, the students are provided with a leadership training, which is designed to make the students more effective in their careers, and are also provided with an opportunity to travel to the annual World Food Prize in Des Moines, Iowa.

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

Dr. Ed Runge, Director, MBBISP, states, “We are delighted with the outcome of this program over the last eight years. The kind of talent that has been recognized from across the globe is commendable. We as part of the judging panel are confident that the aim of these students are aligned with the vision of Drs. Hank Beachell and Norman Borlaug in the area of food security.”

The MBBISP is administered by Texas AgriLife Research, an agency of the US-based Texas A&M University System. The establishment of MBBISP is part of Monsanto's three-point commitment to help increase global food production in the face of growing demand, limited natural resources and a changing climate.


About Monsanto:

Monsanto is a sustainable agriculture company. We deliver agricultural products that support farmers all around the world.

We are focused on empowering farmers—large and small—to produce more from their land while conserving more of our world's natural resources such as water and energy. We do this with our leading seed brands in crops like corn, cotton and fruits and vegetables. We also produce leading in-the-seed trait technologies for farmers, which are aimed at protecting their yield, supporting their on-farm efficiency and reducing their on-farm costs.

We strive to make our products available to farmers throughout the world by broadly licensing our seed and trait technologies to other companies. In addition to our seeds and traits business, we also manufacture Roundup® and other herbicides used by farmers, consumers and lawn-and-garden professionals.

Monsanto could not exist without farmers. They are our customers--the lifeblood of our company. More important, they are the support system of the world's economy, working day in and day out to feed, clothe and provide energy for our world.


For further information, please contact:

Arun Gopalakrishnan

Public Affairs

Monsanto India

+91 7738283718


Santosh Castelino

Edelman India

+91 7506549290