The International Potato Center (CIP) expresses its collective grief to note the passing of Barbara Wells, our Director General and the Global Director of Genetic Innovation for CGIAR.
CIP says in a news release today: “Through a steadfast commitment to genetic innovation, high-impact research and mentoring female scientists, Dr. Wells helped devise solutions to agriculture’s most pressing challenges and, in the process, bolstered nutrition and food security for millions of vulnerable people around the world.“
Dr. Wells joined CIP in 2014 where she to helped to improve and develop the organization’s science through the expansion of partnerships – including the World Food Programme – and a steadfast commitment to the importance of genetic gains and crop breeding innovations, high-impact research benefiting millions of smallholder farmers and vulnerable communities around the world as well as creating pathways of excellence for women in science.
“Barbara joined CIP at a crucial time when the scientific community was racing to find answers to bolster food security and nutrition in the face of climate change, and CIP is strong today because of her leadership excellence,” said Dr. Helen Hambly Odame, the Board Chair of CIP.
“She oversaw diverse genetic solutions and products of the highest possible quality. She was an excellent chief executive drawing on her 30 years of impressive experience to engage partners, motivate and care about center staff. Sadly, Barbara has left us now, but she ensured that that CIP and CGIAR are well positioned to contribute strongly to a healthy, more sustainable and equitable world.”
In light of her demonstrated leadership at CIP, Dr. Wells was appointed the inaugural Global Global Director for Genetic Innovation at CGIAR in 2021 where she was charged with building a forward-looking program of global scientists to enhance CGIAR’s genetic resources for improving crop varieties – varieties to deliver improved nutrition, greater resilience, and higher returns for farmers.
“Dr. Wells was a remarkable leader truly dedicated to the impact that research can have, and an inspiration to so many of us,” said Claudia Sadoff, CGIAR Managing Director, Research Delivery and Impact, and Convener of the Executive Management Team.
“Under Barbara’s leadership, CGIAR’s research and innovation helped make clear and lasting improvements to the health and livelihoods of millions of people across Africa, Asia, and Latin America. But we will also remember Barbara for her warmth and deep concern for people, her commitment to workplace diversity, and dedication to creating opportunities for young women scientists. She will be greatly missed.”
From the hallways of CIP headquarters in Lima, Peru to the field site of the most remote CIP and CGIAR science team, Barbara was liked and respected by all. Her presence will be greatly missed.
Dr. Wells is survived by her husband, two daughters, and her granddaughter.