A three-day training delivered primarily by Kate Dreher, Data Manager at CIMMYT based in Mexico, sought to ensure the scientists and their support teams are well equipped to confidently use the EBS for their programs and to use tools for creating and managing trials and nurseries. The teams also had opportunities to review and give feedback on the System.
“The EBS is an online comprehensive system that brings together different types of data, including field observations and genotypic data, to harmonize processes across all teams and enable optimized decision-making in the short-term and continuous learning for the long term,” said Kate, adding that it is more efficient compared to the former approach of using Excel-based Maize Fieldbook program even though it managed several useful processes.
She pointed out that the EBS is currently available to registered breeding and support team members and data managers from CIMMYT, IITA, IRRI and AfricaRice across all geographies where related programs are implemented. Currently, the EBS is used by programs in rice, wheat, and maize crops.
Kate noted, “Although teams sent germplasm and phenotypic data for centralized storage in two databases (IMIS-GMS and MaizeFinder) managed by the data management team in Mexico in the past, this required curation after the data had already been generated. The EBS will enable teams to manage their germplasm and trial nursery data directly within one system.”
Kate explained further that the EBS stores information on germplasm and linked seed inventory items. It is also designed to house and perform analyses using phenotypic and genotypic data. Users can also capture metadata about their trials and nurseries such as basic agronomic management information and the GPS coordinates of sites where experiments are conducted.
Yoseph Beyene, Regional Maize Breeding Coordinator – Africa & Maize Breeder – Eastern Africa at (CIMMYT) observed that the training gave him firsthand information on the current capabilities and use of the live version to search germplasm and seed, and the capabilities to create nurseries and trials.
“In AGG project, we have one primary objective which focuses on implementing improved data management, experimental designs, and breeding methods to accelerate genetic gain and improved breeding efficiency. Therefore, implementing EBS is one of the top priorities for AGG project,” said Yoseph who is also a leader in the Accelerating Genetic Gains in Maize and Wheat for Improved Livelihoods Project (AGG).
Lourine Bii, an Assistant Research Associate, who joined CIMMYT in March of 2022 and the only female Research Technician on the Global Maize Program based in Kenya, said; “The EBS is a fantastic system that enables an individual to create experiments. The system links a team, for instance a product development team, to get live updates on the various stages of creating an experiment, reducing back and forth on email.”
The System’s software development is on-ongoing with more functionalities being added and enhanced even as the development team receives feedback and reviews from users.