New ILRI Director General to steer institute to new levels

The new ILRI Director General Professor Appolinaire Djikeng.

International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), a global research organisation, has appointed a new Director General. ILRI Board of Trustees and CGIAR announced the appointment of Professor Appolinaire Djikeng as Director General of ILRI and CGIAR Senior Director of Livestock-Based Systems. He will assume the post on April 3, this year.

Professor Djikeng is a globally-recognised expert in developing multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional, and global research and development programmes focused on agricultural and livestock development, and human health.

He will take over from Dr Shirley Tarawali, who is the interim Director General at ILRI. Dr Tarawali assumed the lead from Dr Jimmy Smith, who retired in December 2022 after 11 years of outstanding leadership.

"Livestock development is close to me personally and it is a huge honour and privilege to take the helm of the world's leading livestock research and development organisation, focused on improving outcomes for farmers, addressing challenges related to our environment and the sustainable use of natural resources, and delivering solutions to our increasingly vulnerable food systems," Professor Djikeng said.

Professor Djikeng joins ILRI and CGIAR from the University of Edinburgh, where he is a Professor and Chair of Tropical Agriculture and Sustainable Development, as well as the Director, the Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health based at the Roslin Institute.

High-profile scientist

He will retain his affiliation with the Roslin Institute of the University of Edinburgh to strengthen the partnership with ILRI and the CGIAR system. Professor Djikeng previously worked with ILRI from 2009-2016 as Technology Manager and then Director of the Biosciences eastern and central Africa (BecA)-ILRI Hub.

He has received numerous awards, including the 2020 Nelson Mandela Justice Award. He was also recognised by the Decade of Health as one of the 10 people in the United Kingdom changing health.

On this new appointment, Dr Elsa Murano, the Chair of ILRI's Board of Trustees said: "Livestock is the fastest growing sector in agriculture, and it is essential that its growth is sustainable and equitable. Professor Djikeng's research has been at the forefront of efforts to improve livestock systems and animal productivity for low- and middle-income countries. We are delighted to welcome a high-profile scientist and leader of Professor Djikeng's calibre whose exemplary leadership skills and scientific expertise will drive ILRI's continuing success."

In his new role, Professor Djikeng will expand ILRI's proven track record of impact, developing livestock sustainable systems that help nourish and sustain millions of people in low- and middle-income countries. He will provide leadership and coordination of activities related to livestock systems across CGIAR.

Dr Claudia Sadoff, CGIAR Executive Managing Director said: "Transforming food, land and water systems cannot be done without sustainably transforming the livestock sector. Livestock systems play a central role in CGIAR's research agenda and Professor Djikeng's record of strategic innovation, impact and cross-cutting research perfectly position him to champion livestock across CGIAR."

Professor Djikeng was born in Cameroon and is the first African to be appointed Director General of ILRI.

ILRI works to improve food security and reduce poverty in developing countries through research for better and more sustainable use of livestock. The Institute is co-hosted by the Governments of Kenya and Ethiopia, has 14 offices across Asia and Africa.

CGIAR is a global research partnership dedicated to transforming food, land and water systems in a climate crisis. Its research is carried out by CGIAR Centers/Alliances in close collaboration with hundreds of partners, including national and regional research institutes, civil society organizations, academia, development organizations and the private sector.

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