On 26 October 2021, with the first functional version of the software bring released, over 100 EBS staff and stakeholders came together to hear from the breeders involved in development and the roadmap for future releases.

“What makes breeding modern isn’t so much that we are trying to to do things that are qualitatvely different. It is still a numbers game,” said Young Wha Lee, Breeding Informatics Lead at the CGIAR Excellence in Breeding Platform. “What makes breeding modern is a difference in how we generate and use data.”

“There are multiple data types being gathered on different platforms, and the necessity to make decisions under very tight deadlines. This demands an integrated and sophisticated IT infrastructure, where decisions need to flow from the field, to the marker lab, to the selection, and finally right back to the inventory so that you can start to cycle again and create nurseries and begin a new round.”

“The EBS is meant to be a software to support you at every step in this process.”

To reflect the partnership between IT and breeding that must be embedded in modern breeding programs, management of the EBS is based on a team-of-teams structure. Within the EBS program board there is a team representing the development staff, and a team representing the breeding community, also known as Business Change Networks.

The Town Hall heard from a panel of Business Change Managers at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), who described their experiences with the EBS and what makes the software different to previous efforts.

Presenting the roadmap for development of the EBS, Steffen Weber emphasized that the effort is more than just software. “We need to make sure that the business is ready, that processes and data can be managed, and that people can be trained.” 

EBS version 3 was released at the end of August 2021, and is being tested by breeders from IRRI and CIMMYT. Version 3 covers the basic processes of a modern breeding program. In the next release on February 11, new functions will be added and improvements to existing functionality.

The EBS release cycle is coordinated with breeding programs so that new functions arrive in windows when there is time in the breeding cycle to adapt. Four new implementations will take place by the end of 2023.

In response to feedback at the meeting, two EBS demos were to be organized for 2 December 2021, at 8AM Mexico City Time and 2PM Manila time. Details and registration below:

Development of EBS is guided by the needs of its users, both current and future. 
If you are interested in EBS, we want to hear from you! 

© 2020 International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT)