Pohang, South Korea
September 18, 2023
The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), Handong Global University (HGU), the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)came together to organize the "International Conference on the Application of Genomics and Bioinformatics to Biology."
The event, hosted by HGU on September 18, 2023, convened stakeholders and experts to address the transformative potential of advanced technologies in genetics and bioinformatics on the global food system and food security. This innovative scientific interaction at international level was conducted as part of the Korea Official Development Assistance (ODA) project in the Philippines, entitled “Capacity-building for Higher Education and the Establishment of Agricultural Genomics Research Center at the University of the Philippines Los Baños” that the Republic of Korea supports through KOICA.
The project aims to establish the advanced agricultural genomics center for genomics and bioinformatics research on plant, animal, insect, and microorganism species living in the Philippines. The project also provides young scientists of UPLB with PhD scholarships at nine (9) hub-universities in Korea, MSc sandwich program at UPLB and IRRI, and various research capacity building activities, such as seminars, invitational, OMICs, and sequencing trainings, among others. IRRI acts as the project implementing agency.
The conference served as an incubator and accelerator of innovative ideas and alternative approaches to bolster food security and promote sustainable development in the face of climate change impacts. The gathering reinforced the existing collaboration between the Philippines and South Korea, particularly in the realm of agricultural research.
HGU President, Dosoung Choi, also expressed his congratulations and recognized the significance of collaborative efforts in advancing agricultural research and development between the Philippines and Korea. “The International Rice Research Institute, located in the Philippines, has a very special meaning for South Koreans. In the 1970s, IRRI helped with the development of ‘Tongil rice’. The IR8 rice variety developed in IRRI was the beginning of the improvement of ‘Tongil rice’, which made a great contribution to food security and the poverty rate in South Korea. Today, in good relationships, it is an honor and pleasure that prominent scholars are here together at Handong Global University to share the latest research on food improvement. Thank you for your participation in this event.”
UPLB Chancellor, Jose V. Camacho Jr., conveyed his congratulations, emphasizing the conference's role in driving research and development initiatives for a more sustainable and secure food system. “We commend and congratulate the conference organizers, especially KOICA and IRRI, for spearheading the creation of this important venue to discuss and share knowledge on these cutting-edge science and technologies. It is a powerful reaffirmation of their commitment to creating sustainable, resilient, and future-proof global agri-food systems,” he said.
Lee Cheol-woo, Governor of the Gyeongsangbuk-do Province in his speech expressed his excitement for the positive outcome of the conference. “We hope that this conference will promote collaboration between domestic and foreign professional institutions in the field of food security and crop research, Gyeongsangbuk-do Province, and Handong University. This collaboration aims to make a significant contribution to the globalization of agricultural technology in the Gyeongsangbuk-do region, as well as improve food security in Asia and Africa,” the governor said.
The conference featured three keynote addresses on the following topics: crop improvements, biotechnology applications for livestock immunization and plant vaccine development, providing a broader perspective on the potential of genomics and bioinformatics; and Rice Breeding Innovations title ‘Delivering better products faster’, promising additional insights into cutting-edge developments in the field.
A special session was dedicated to PhD scholars of KOICA who are actively contributing to agricultural genetics research under the KOICA-UPLB-IRRI partnership. The scholars presented their study plans and expressed gratitude for the support offered by the KOICA-UPLB-IRRI partnership project. This session explored how the partnership can effectively address current agricultural challenges in the Philippines.
Overall, the International Conference on the Application of Genomics and Bioinformatics to Biology provided a dynamic platform for knowledge-sharing, fostering international collaboration, and advancing groundbreaking solutions for global food security and sustainable agricultural development. Participants left the conference equipped with new insights and strengthened partnerships to tackle the pressing challenges facing the world's food systems.