31 January 2013: I along with 4 other fellows had an exclusive opportunity to have free discussion over lunch with Institute's Director General Dr Robert S. Zeigler. During the anticipation period we were entertained with cold drinks. We made some preparation on how we should meet him. Firm handshake, thanks for the invitation and so on. Before all fellows could believe and accept the strategies, DG appeared at the door of the IRRI Dining Room [IDR]. There were a couple of other groups for the lunch occupying tables designated them. As we shook his hand, he asked us to get the food. After filling up the plates and cups we occupied the table designated for Post Doctoral Fellows. The DG asked us to introduce our self, tell about the researches, progresses, bottlenecks and any concerns that we liked to inform him. There was no boundary set to our discussion. He looked at Vivek Thakur who was on his left in the circular lunch table. Dr Vivek introduced himself relating to C4 rice project, he arrived in IRRI in January 2010, doing an excellent analysis of sorghum sequences. On the concern side: he expressed the delay in having a Bioinformatics PI/ head in the Institute. He also informed that Bio-informaticians in IRRI do meet regularly.
Next, It was Dr Shim's turn to speak. He related his history of being a PhD student in IRRI, then a post doctoral fellow in Nagoya University and a second time PDF in IRRI since 2009. His requested for a provision of fund for post docs to earn an experience of handling small projects. He also shared a lot of his informal collaborations.
I explained the progress made in finding mutants with multiple mesophyll cells, advances in mutant sequencing and stable carbon isotopes. Then I requested for a shower to refresh after field works and a for a guidance to apply and get project funding.
The turn passed to Dr Ando, who right away said the modelers were orphaned by the institute's low financial attention. This made DG rush for a paper to note it down. Finally Dr Mottaleb who sat on the DG's right shared his progress that he has used new models to predict the yield gain and publish papers.
The meeting ended on a happy tone with words to meet again over lunches or in tennis courts.