Michael Gómez Selvaraj is a Senior Scientist at Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, Cali, Colombia, leading plant phenomics platform. Within the CGIAR framework, MS’s research aims to increase the accuracy, precision, and throughput of phenotypic estimation of plant traits while reducing costs and minimizing labour through automation, remote sensing, improved data integration, and experimental design. Through effective collaboration with international partners, MS has developed a state-of-the-art facility comprised of automated rainout shelters (for drought screening) and low-nitrogen field plots (for Nitrogen use efficiency screening) integrated with a multi spectral imaging system mounted on phenotowers on the roof of rainout shelters and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). MS’s also instigated the development of break-through ground penetrating radar technologies capable of non-destructively quantifying cassava roots. Water and nitrogen use efficient trait screening protocols and standard operating procedures developed from his platform are being implemented in Ghana, Nigeria and Uganda through NEWEST rice (Nitrogen Use Efficient, Water Use Efficient and Salt Tolerant), a USAID project in which MS is Principal Investigator for Alliance and serves on the Project Advisory Committee.
Cross cutting Digital agriculture: It refers to the use of digital technologies, such as computer software, sensors, and artificial intelligence, to enhance and optimize various aspects of agriculture, including crop production, and management. The goal of digital agriculture is to increase efficiency, productivity, and sustainability while reducing costs and minimizing negative impacts on the environment. Digital agriculture can encompass a wide range of applications, including precision agriculture, remote sensing, smart irrigation, and digital extension services. The use of digital tools can help plant breeders and farmers make more informed decisions, monitor their crops more effectively, and improve their overall profitability.