Donor Organizations


The committee held a webinar on Thursday, April 30 at 11am – 1pm EDT to gather information from invited speakers:

Rob Horsch, Deputy Director, Global Development, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. bio

Rob Horsch, deputy director, leads the Agricultural Research and Development team of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which manages a portfolio of grants aimed at improving agricultural productivity, reducing farmer risk, and developing more nutritious versions of the staple crops grown and consumed by farm families, including varieties that thrive in different soil types and are resistant to disease, pests, and environmental stresses such as drought. Prior to joining the foundation in 2006, Rob was the leader of International Development Partnerships at Monsanto Company and involved in a number of public private partnerships for agricultural development. Rob is a plant biologist and has served on the editorial boards of several leading journals in the plant sciences and as an advisor to the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy. He was awarded the 1998 National Medal of Technology by President Clinton for contributions to the development of agricultural biotechnology. Rob received his Ph.D. in genetics at the University of California, Riverside, in 1979, and then conducted postdoctoral work in plant physiology at the University of Saskatchewan.

John McMurdy, International Research Advisor & Scaling Team Leader, Bureau of Food Security, U.S. Agency for International Development. bio

John McMurdy is an international research and biotechnology advisor in the Bureau for Food Security at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) where he manages several of the agencies investments in plant biotechnology R&D across Africa and South Asia. These investments support technology transfer, product development of new crop varieties, and training for developing country scientists to more fully utilize biotechnology. John additionally manages USAID’s investments in biosafety capacity development, which provide technical assistance to policymakers in developing science-based regulatory systems and increase the technical literacy of the international biotechnology regulatory community. Before coming to USAID, John served as the Chief Technology Officer at Corum Medical, a medical device company he co-founded with physician and engineering colleagues in Providence, Rhode Island. He received his Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Brown University and his B.S./M.S. from the University of Rochester.

Brian Dowd-Uribe, Assistant Professor, UN-Mandated University for Peace. bio

Brian Dowd-Uribe is the department chair and an assistant professor in the Department of Environment and Development at the UN-mandated University for Peace (UPEACE) in Costa Rica. He holds an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Environment Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Brian served as a postdoctoral research scientist in the Centre for Research on Environmental Decisions in Columbia University’s Earth Institute, where he continues to hold the title of adjunct research scientist. His doctoral research took place in Burkina Faso, where he examined the introduction of transgenic cotton among smallholder farmers. Prior to his doctoral studies, Brian served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Togo, West Africa.

The webinar is an information-gathering meeting for the committee in which the speakers are invited to provide input to the committee.

Presentations for each speaker start at the below timestamps:

  • Rob Horsch: 00:07:07
  • John McMurdy: 00:43:20
  • Brian Dowd-Uribe: 01:11:09

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