Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency (RIPE) Reinvestment

RIPE: Harnessing the Sun to Help Feed the World
Generating Soil Health Solutions
RIPE: Harnessing the Sun to Help Feed the World
Generating Soil Health Solutions

Program Contact

Dr. LaKisha Odom

Dr. Steve Long

University of Illinois

Year Awarded  2017

FFAR award amount   $15,000,000

Total award amount   $45,000,000

Location   CHAMPAIGN, Ill.

Matching Funders   The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), formerly the U.K. Department for International Development (DFID).

  • Soil Health

Cultivating Food Security Solutions by Improving Photosynthesis

While no single strategy will achieve the 50 to 70 percent increase in production needed to meet the global food demands of 2050, improving photosynthesis remains a source of untapped potential. Understanding the complex 170-step photosynthetic process is critical to streamlining crop production and improving global food sustainability.

Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency (RIPE) is an international research project engineering crops to be more productive by improving photosynthesis, the natural process all plants use to convert sunlight into energy and yields. By equipping farmers with higher-yielding crops, researchers are increasing global food productivity.

Why this Research is Important

RIPE supports critical, ongoing research to break through stagnant yield ceilings for staple food crops like cassava, soybean, and cowpea. RIPE research is equipping farmers around the world with another tool to enhance global food security and their own livelihoods.

RIPE researchers conduct field trials   RIPE researchers conduct field trials

Details About this Research

Fifty years of photosynthesis research, with several landmark discoveries at the University of Illinois through state and federal partnerships, enabled RIPE to simulate the 170-step process of photosynthesis from the inner workings of enzymes to interactions between neighboring plants in the field. RIPE used these models to identify seven potential pipelines to improve photosynthesis and with the support of an initial $25 million, five-year grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, began work in 2012 to try to turn their ideas into sustainable yield increases.

The initial grant produced insights on how to boost crop yields by 20 percent through increased photosynthetic efficiency. This $45 million investment from FFAR, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office ensures we can continue to build off this critical research.

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