Lee Foundation Rice Scholarship

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Lee Foundation Rice Scholarship

In 2013, the Singapore-based Lee Foundation and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) launched a scholarship program to educate and train a new generation of young rice scientists and researchers to help feed Asia in the future.

Known as the Lee Foundation Rice Scholarship Program, it offers South and Southeast Asians in the early stages of their careers a unique opportunity to acquire excellent education from leading academic institutions in areas such as gene discovery and bioinformatics, modern rice breeding, rice systems of the future, and economics and policy. The program has already granted six Postdoctoral Fellowship positions, two MS degree scholarships and 30 PhD scholarships to students from nine countries in South and Southeast Asia.

Lee scholars are anticipated to become part of the region’s new science leadership and build key partnerships for food security over the next 20–25 years.
At the same time, the scholarship program also supports internships and the participation of young scientists in the IRRI-offered course Rice Research to Production. This is a three-week course that aims to create a new generation of plant scientists who are well networked into the international community and who fully understand the importance of innovative plant science in addressing global problems.

Research Areas

Gene discovery and bioinformatics

This strategic theme involves decoding the genomes of a large collection of rice germplasm in the International Rice Gene Bank at IRRI. The wealth of data provides unique opportunities to conduct innovative research in genome diversity and to apply genome wide association studies to identify novel genes associated with important traits for practical breeding and upstream genetics.

Modern rice breeding

Increasing the impact of rice variety development is essential to ensure rice food security. By working with multidisciplinary teams and making use of various new technologies such as high-throughput genotyping, modern breeding information management, accelerated line development, and early-generation multilocation trials, this program will focus on increasing genetic gains and creating a substantial impact on rice productivity.

Future rice systems to ensure food security

Meeting the food security challenge requires raising the yield potential for rice along with higher yield stability in the difficult environments of drought, flooding, and high temperature and changes in cultivation practices such as direct seeding. The team of students will develop an improved understanding of the physiology of rice to contribute to breakthroughs in raising the yield potential of rice.

Economics and policy

Achieving rice food security entails more than just revamping yield growth. An efficient value chain and appropriate policy instruments are critical to ensure food security for millions of poor people. The team will focus on policy and value chain research and develop improved business models for sustainable adoption and delivery of postharvest technologies.

Scholarship Benefits

  • Round trip airfare and related travel expenses
  • Monthly stipend with local medical and accident insurance
  • Research support
  • Leadership and professional development
  • University fees


 Renee-Lee Foundation Rice Scholarship    “It has been a privilege and a pleasure to be a Lee Foundation Scholar. The scholarship has allowed me to pursue a topic which I believe will help with producing more food with less resources. The scholarship also allowed me to live in other countries and experience their culture, food and people. It has been quite a rewarding experience but I am looking forward to finishing up!"  - Ma. Renee Lorica, Philippines, MPhil/PhD Agricultural & Food Sciences, University of Greenwich and Crop and Environmental Sciences Division (CESD)     
    “The IRRI Scholarship has provided me with the academic training I needed to engage in research on agriculture and sustainable development.”  - Angela Mae Minas, Philippines, PhD Researcher, Tyndall Center for Climate Change Research in the University of Manchester   Angela Minas - Lee Foundation Rice Scholarship
 scholar mondal - Lee Foundation Rice Scholarship   “Equipped with high quality research facilities, this scholarship through IRRI hastened my research. I was able to discover new traits and technology related to rice science.”  - Satyen Mondal, Bangladesh,  PhD in Agronomy (Crop Physiology), University of the Philippines Los Baños    


“This scholarship provided me the perfect platform to work on improving rice varieties to address climate change.”  - Parthiban Thathapalli Prakash,  India,  PhD in Crop Sciences (Plant Physiology & Breeding), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

  scholar prakash