Global Research Program Director, Genetic Gains at ICRISAT & Winthrop Research Professor at The University of Western Australia

Rajeev Varshney, a Global Research Program Director, Genetic Gains at ICRISAT, and a Winthrop Research Professor at The University of Western Australia, has 15 years research experience in international agriculture. In his dual appointment, he served CGIAR Generation Challenge Program (hosted by CIMMYT, Mexico) as Theme Leader for six years. Before joining ICRISAT, he worked at IPK-Gatersleben, Germany for five years. He is recognized as a leader in applied genomics, genomics-assisted breeding and translational genomics for agriculture. He has genome sequences of 8 crops including pigeonpea, chickpea, peanut and pearl millet and several molecular breeding products in chickpea, peanut and pigeonpea to his credit.


Varshney's research is focused on developing genomic tools, understanding genome architecture, dissecting genetic basis of trait variation, and using this natural variation to improve crops in marginal environments in Asia and Africa. His research has provided insights into the genetic diversity of germplasm collections, the genetic architecture of complex traits, hybrid vigor, and the genes associated with tolerance to biotic and abiotic stress as well as nutritional traits. These research approaches and outputs have been applied to many crop species, and to genetics and breeding efforts around the world.


Varshney is an elected fellow/ member/ academician of Leopoldina- German National Academy of Sciences, The World Academy of Sciences, American Association of Advancement in Sciences (USA),  Crop Science Society of America (CSSA), Indian National Science Academy and several other Indian science academies. Varshney has received the Bhatnagar Prize, the most covetd science and technology award from Government of India. He is receipient of numerous prestigious awards including the Qilu Friedship Award from Shandong Province of Republic of China, the Young Crop Scientist Award of CSSA, the Illumina Agricultural Greater Good Initiative Award, Research Excellence India Citation Award of Thomson Reuters. With an H-index of 69 and >20,000 citations, Varshney is a prolific author and has been recognized as a Highly Cited Researcher by Thomson Reuters for the last three consecutive years.