Graduate research topics

CORIGAP developed a Postgraduate innovation platform to support the science-based evidences that will strengthen the proof of concept on exciting research topics. Get to know more about these new breed of rice scientists.

Sarathchandra Siriwardana

Sarath is a PhD student at the University of Peradeniya focusing on crop protection. His research is on the development of a management system for rice rice field rats in Sri Lanka based on their diversity, ecology, reproductive behavior, and societal impact. Rat problems, direct crop damage and leptospirosis disease are currently significant issues in Sri Lankan rice farming communities which continue to spread each year.He also currently serves as the assistant director of agricultural research at the Rice Research and Development Institute, Batalagoda, Sri Lanka.

Sarath is under the supervision of Dr. K.S. Hermachandra (University of Peradeniya), Dr. L. Nugaliyadda (University of Ruhuna), Dr. Nyo Me Htwe (Department of Agriculture, Myanmar), and Dr. Grant Singleton (IRRI).

Zar Zar Soe

Zar is an MS Agronomy student from the University of the Philippines Los Baños. The focus of her research is on weed science in rice. She is under the supervision of Dr. Virender Kumar.In 2010, she received her bachelor’s degree in agricultural science from Yezin Agricultural University, Myanmar. Her undergraduate research was on Yield and Yield Components of Rice (Oryza Sativa L.) as influenced by different times of Urea Application.

Helena Wehmeyer

Helena Wehmeyer

Helena is a PhD Geography student from the University of Basel, Switzerland. Her research focuses on the impact analysis of CORIGAP regarding the environmental and social footprint of rice farmers in Myanmar and Vietnam. For the analysis, she is looking at the farmers' socioeconomic structure to connect the dots between the reduction of yield gaps and geographic, economic, as well as demographic factors. The objective is to examine if socioeconomic structure matters to a successful adoption of best management practices and sustainable farming methods. These shall eventually increase yields and hence reduce yield gaps.

She is under the supervision of Dr. Rita Schneider-Sliwa (University of Basel) and Melanie Connor (IRRI).

Helene Animatou Ba

On February 21st 2019, Hélène A. Ba successfully defended her PhD dissertation on the “Contribution of contract farming to sustainable rice value chain upgrading in Mekong River Delta in Vietnam” in the University of Paris-Est Créteil. She conducted her PhD research as a CORIGAP scholar during 2014–2019 under the supervision of Dr Matty Demont (Shaping Future Rice Value Chains and Policies Outcome Theme Leader, IRRI) and Prof. Sylvie Thoron (Economics Professor, University of Paris-Est Créteil). The Vietnamese government is currently encouraging contract farming between exporters and farmers to trigger rice value chain upgrading and increase farmers’ incomes. Hélène’s PhD dissertation significantly contributes to our understanding of contract farming and how it can be deployed as an inclusive mechanism for increasing sustainability of rice value chains. Through a series of surveys and choice experiments with exporters and rice farmers, her PhD has generated unique insights into the contract farming models that rice export companies have developed and the contract attributes that both farmers and exporters prefer. This information is currently being used in CORIGAP and VnSAT to design “sustainable contracts” that can successfully internalize sustainable production standards into rice value chains in the Mekong Delta. A first publication on her research is forthcoming in the journal Land Use Policy.

Helene was supervised by Matty Demont.

Molly Schuman-Goodier

Molly is a PhD candidate at Northern Arizona University (NAU) in Flagstaff, USA who is conducting research in the Philippines supported by CORIGAP, as well as an NAU/NSF Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) fellowship, and a NAU/NSF GK-12 Teaching fellowship.

Molly's research topic is about investigating the effects of endocrine disrupting pesticides used in rice agriculture on amphibians. Over 127 different pesticides have been identified as endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs), which interfere with vertebrate endocrine pathways to disrupt fundamental developmental and reproductive processes. Her research results would help provide information on sustainable rice agricultural practices, and address concerns linking pesticide use to biodiversity declines and human health.

Ma. Renee P. Lorica

Renee earned her PhD Agriculture, Health & Environment at the University of Greenwich, United Kingdom. She was supported by the Lee Foundation Rice Scholarship and CORIGAP. She was supervised by Grant Singleton (IRRI / NRI, U Greenwich) and Steven Belmain (NRI, U Greenwich). Alex Stuart (IRRI) also guided her research.

For her dissertation, she investigated the effect of the water-saving technology Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD) on the population dynamics, habitat use, and levels of damage inflicted by rodent pests on lowland irrigated rice. Findings indicate that AWD had no effect on breeding, trappability, movement and propensity to inflict damage by rats. Renee's research provides evidence that farmers have no cause to reject AWD based on concerns that it will exacerbate crop losses by rodents. Rodent pest management based on the particular species and site (ecologically-based rodent management or EBRM) can address losses caused by this pest.

She is under the supervision of Steven Belmain (NRI, Greenwich) and Grant Singleton (IRRI). CORIGAP Scientist Alex Stuart also provides expert advice.

Nishanka Jayasiri

Nishanka is currently taking her PhD research in the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. Her research topic is "Assessing environmental sustainability in rice-based agro-food system in the Deduru Oya river basin of Sri Lanka."

She is under the supervision of Prof. (Ms.) N.D.K. Dayawansa from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, Dr. Sudhir Yadav of IRRI and Prof. Karin Ingold, University of Bern, Switzerland.

Nguyen Hoang Diem My

Hoang's PhD dissertation topic is about Consumer behaviour towards sustainably produced rice at the Ghent University, Belgium. She is supervised by Professor Wim Verbeke at Ghent University and Matty Demont at IRRI.