Integrated Breeding Platform (IBP) FAQs
What is the Integrated Breeding Platform (IBP)?
The Integrated Breeding Platform (IBP) a not-for-profit entity whose mission is to help accelerate the delivery of new climate-resilient crop varieties, in the context of an increasing demand for food.
Our team is made up of dedicated breeding specialists, technology experts and data managers who came together to provide IT tools and services, crop breeding products and consultancy and training to breeders, especially in developing countries. We believe that access to the right tools and opportunities will help breeders achieve more efficiency in crop improvement, and therefore have a concrete and direct impact on their specific local environments and markets.
What products and services can I get from the IBP?
IT for breeding:
Software: The Breeding Management System (BMS), our core product, is a software solution to manage your breeding data across all phases of the crop improvement cycle.
- It is available for individual breeders (desktop) and for institutions (server), in an Open Source or Professional edition.
- It includes applications to manage trials, nurseries and seed inventory, run statistical analyses, and support breeding decisions through the gradual integration of genetic markers.
- It keeps a safe, standardized and centralized record of institutional data from one generation to the next.
- It lets breeding networks and teams build knowledge, facilitate teamwork and secure institutional memory.
Technical support: The IBP Help Desk provides basic assistance to individual users for initial download & installation and simple known issues, and service packages can be purchased by institutions for continued maintenance & troubleshooting, user workshops, software configuration, data migration and more. Our team can also assist with more specialized IT services such as institutional deployment, system customization, third-party tool integration, and software development.
Plant breeding expertise:
Breeding products: Our website offers registered users trait-linked markers, germplasm with crop ontologies, genomics information, and location and climate maps. Our users also benefit from negotiated rates with a network of preferred service providers for genotyping, and physiological components and trait analysis.
Breeding mentorship and consultancy: Our consultants can be assigned to specific institutions for added expertise on agronomy, phenotyping, molecular breeding or breeding methods. We accompany them in improving their phenotyping practices, and in gradually integrating markers and other modern genotyping methods.
Professional training: Our IT and breeding experts are available to provide training on how to optimize the use of the BMS and other data management technologies, as well as on implementing better breeding practices (from introductory to advanced levels). Courses cover the topics of breeding, molecular breeding, data management, advanced statistical techniques; phenotyping and experimental station management.
Community resources: specifically geared towards helping breeders in developing countries to close the gap in terms of access to knowledge and opportunities, our website provides complementary open source software, publications, peer forums, online tutorials, and job, event and course postings. We periodically organize trainings and webinars in target countries, and course material is available for lecturers willing to include the BMS into university curricula.
What is the cost of these products and services (didn't I hear that it was free?)
Or goal has always been to ensure as much accessibility to our products and services as possible, for maximum impact on breeding practices around the world. As such:
What’s free: Everyone is welcome to register as a community member on our website, where they will have access to all of its Community resources, open source versions of the BMS, and basic Help Desk services for free.
What’s paid: Fees apply to proprietary components of the BMS PRO edition (of both the desktop or server editions), to specialized services (such as dedicated training or IT and breeding expertise), and to any needed IT equipment (servers, cloud, internet connection, etc.).
How costs apply: The prices are differentiated, and some discounts may apply, on a case by case basis and depending on an institution's size (number of programs and breeders), location (developing or developed countries) and activities (public, private or educational). Institutions in developing countries and special purpose programs can have parts or all of their quote subsidized, i.e. implementation costs will be covered by donor or public funds, pending their availability. Otherwise, institutions can pick and choose any paid services they would like added to their package, based on their needs and available resources.
So what's available for me now, as an individual scientist?
The basic Desktop edition of the BMS is freely downloadable on our website for registered users, and includes all the basic core functions to build your trials & nurseries. For a 90-days free trial, and then for a minimal license fee, you can unlock the full PRO functionality, i.e. the proprietary components of Breeding View for statistical analysis and Field Design capability. Users in target developing countries will get this for free. Please contact us via our Help Desk (under 'Other Enquiries'), to learn what conditions apply to you and obtain your PRO license. As a registered member on our website, you will also access all of our community resources and basic Help Desk services for free.
What if I want to deploy the BMS across my institution or program?
We recommend that you contact us to obtain the BMS Server Pro edition, which will come with a service package to have it implemented at your institution with the assistance of our team. This package will be determined on the basis of your situation, budget and requirements, and could be subsidized through donor funds if applicable.
You may also ask us for the Open Source version of the BMS Server edition and purchase a service package on the side, or ask for a 30-day access to our servers for trial and evaluation purposes. If you prefer, we will gladly walk you through a demo to quickly describe functionality, and better evaluate the scope and needs of your project.
Please contact our team at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss these options an get an estimated work order.
How was the IBP created?
The IBP was officially launched in 2010 as a project of the Generation Challenge Programme (GCP), a time-bound, 10-year program of the CGIAR, with the aim to pull together existing, disparate breeding efforts and provide tools and technical support to enhance plant breeding efficiency in the developing world. The ‘Platform’ was then meant as an online, one-stop gateway to information and innovations for plant breeders.
To complement this offer, the team assigned to the IBP project started working on developing their own Breeding Management System (BMS), to provide a complete and easy-to-use software package that would contain all the tools needed by a breeder, and where breeding data would flow seamlessly between applications. A first desktop version of this system was released in 2013.
When the GCP closed in 2014, the IBP continued on as an independent non-profit initiative under the management of the Global Crop Breeding Support Service (GCBSS), thanks to funds from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It has since grown from being an online reference into a mature non-profit entity providing its IT and breeding expertise and services to institutions and companies around the world.
Is the IBP - Integrated Breeding Platform - the same as the CGIAR Excellence in Breeding Platform (EiB)?
No, it is not the same initiative, nor does it employ the same team. The EiB is a project of the CGIAR, founded in 2016 as part of their new portfolio of research programs and platforms. Though the IBP also originated as a project under a CGIAR program in 2010, it is today an independent entity under the responsibility of a nonprofit corporation registered in the US.
The IBP is happy to be working with the EiB as partners, along with other private and public stakeholders, as we all share the vision of improving breeding efficiency around the world. Our tools and services can be used in complementarity to what these other initiatives have to offer.
Who manages the IBP?
The IBP is managed through the Global Crop Breeding Support Service (GCBSS), incorporated and registered as a nonprofit corporation pursuant to the District of Colombia Nonprofit Corporation Act. The management of our activities is committed to the GCBSS Board of Trustees. The IBP Director, Dr Jean-Marcel Ribaut, is a member ex officio of the Board.
How do you ensure sustainability?
Our activities are mainly sustained thanks to the generous support of various donors, our main contributor for the past 8 years being the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The strategy to promote our mission and complement our revenue stream is composed of four elements:
Commercial activities: Our commercial activities are targeted at clients in regions and markets with the capacity to pay, where all income derived from them is reinvested in the ongoing development of our tools and services. These commercial activities are led and funneled through VSN International Limited, a UK-based company who has been supplying data analysis software for the biological and life sciences market worldwide for more than 30 years.
Regional presence and support: This is ensured by partner institutions who have taken on the role of IBP Hub in their respective regions and for their specific crop expertise. We also train scientists in IT and embed them at key breeding institutes and universities, so that they may help their host institution modernize their practices and technologies, but also work together as part of an extended regional team.
Training the next generation: We work closely with universities and other institutions with an educational vocation, to have them include the use of data management tools in their curricula, effectively training the next generation of scientists who, in turn, will bring this knowledge into their professional life, for the benefit of their future employers.
Job creation: On the longer-term, we hope that a critical mass of bio-informatics specialists will be able to take on the development and maintenance of software in plant breeding institutes, bringing their use to new heights. Our ambition is to foster the development of ‘agri-preneurs’ and local jobs as an incubator for young start-ups, to contribute to the professionalization of IT services geared at the agricultural sector.
Do "IBP" and "BMS" refer to the same thing?
No. The Breeding Management System (BMS) is a software suite, the core product of the IBP, but just a part of what the Integrated Breeding Platform (IBP) offers. The IBP is a not-for-profit organization which provides IT for breeding (of which the BMS is the centerpiece); plant breeding expertise (including consultancy and third party services); and capacity building. This website also offers many community resources, all accessible from the main site menu above.
How can I cite the Integrated Breeding Platform (IBP) in my work?
For citing material provided on this website, please use the following entry:
"The Integrated Breeding Platform (IBP) [Online]. Available at : https://www.integratedbreeding.net/"