Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Africa Rice Center establishes Dr Robert Carsky Award


To honor the contribution and dedication of the late Dr Robert Carsky, who served as Agronomist at the Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice) until his tragic death in 2004 in Bouaké, Côte d’Ivoire, an annual award in his memory has been set up by the Center.


Announcing the launching of this award, Africa Rice Center Director General Dr Papa Abdoulaye Seck said that it would recognize the staff who have made outstanding contributions in the areas of research and research support. “The Dr Robert Carsky Award will be conferred on the most outstanding Internationally Recruited Staff (IRS) and the most outstanding General Support Staff (GSS).”


The Award function was held at the end of the Board meeting of the Africa Rice Center in March 2009. Mrs Rebecca Khelseau-Carsky was invited to hand over the Award, which consists of a certificate and a token in the form of cash, to the selected staff members.


The two recipients of this Award selected by a special jury for 2008 are Dr Koichi Futakuchi from Japan for IRS and Mrs Oyin Oladimeji from Nigeria for GSS.


Dr Koichi Futakuchi
Dr Futakuchi, who works from Cotonou, Benin, has been with the Africa Rice Center since 1997 first as Post-doctoral Fellow and then as Ecophysiologist. He is now the Acting Head of the Genetic Resources Unit. At the Africa Rice Center, he has been coordinating most of the Japanese-funded special projects and has enabled the posting of Post-doctoral Fellows from Japan at the Center.
The jury highlighted that Dr Futakuchi’s scientific contributions and insights are very useful to rice breeders of the Africa Rice Center and the national programs. He has an extensive publication record with publications on rice genetics, physiology, and grain quality in internationally refereed journals.
Describing Dr Futakuchi as a very hard working scientist and a warm and helpful colleague, the jury stated, “Through his activities, Dr Futakuchi has raised the visibility of the Center and greatly contributed to the continued support of Japan.”


Mrs Oyin Oladimeji
Mrs Oyin Oladimeji, Research Assistant, is based at the Africa Rice Center Regional Station in Ibadan, Nigeria. 
Praising her dynamism and dedication, the jury described her as “an excellent facilitator in the interactions between rice scientists, extension staff, and farmers for activities relating to participatory varietal selection (PVS) and seed production.”
Under the supervision of various Africa Rice Center breeders, Mrs Oladimeji has been actively involved in the development of rice varieties for upland and lowland ecologies. She is also proficient in processing rice into high value products. 



Both the recipients expressed their deep gratitude. “I am honored to receive this special award with the name of Dr Robert Carsky, who was an outstanding scientist with long experience in Africa,” Dr Futakuchi said.