VARANASI, INDIA — Arvind Kumar will serve as director of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) South Asia Regional Centre (ISARC) in Varanasi, India. He will begin his new role Feb. 1, 2019.

ISARC is IRRI’s regional facility in South Asia that works to strengthen the national research capacity of rice-growing countries in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa in crop production, seed quality and nutrition, and to enhance farmers’ knowledge and income.

In this role, Kumar will manage the overall operations of the center, including the development of its business plans to achieve IRRI’s strategic goals, and set its specific future strategic direction to ensure the center’s alignment with the vision and goals of IRRI. He will lead initiatives to work toward the consistency of research activities in the regional center and act as external and national presence that communicates program results to regional and national platforms. He also will be in charge of leading team members in building new partnerships with donors and community leaders at the Varanasi site.

Kumar is a fellow of the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences. He brings over 25 years of agriculture experience, including his current role as interim leader of IRRI’s Rice Breeding Platform and theme leader of the Breeding for Marginal Environments Outcome Theme. As a member of the senior leadership team, he has provided the institute with strategic leadership in research for development, cultivating cutting-edge concepts to resolve food and nutrition security issues related to the rice and agri-food sector. He works in close collaboration with other platforms to ensure funding of research for development initiatives. He also has been instrumental in forming collaborative partnerships with external partners.

Kumar will take over ISARC leadership from Uma Shankar Singh, who will continue on as IRRI South Asia Partnership development consultant.