About the company
Urbana, IL 61801, USA
Stephen P. Long
Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency
RIPE is an international research project engineering plants to photosynthesize more efficiently to boost crop yields.
In the wake of widespread famine, the last century saw plant scientists breeding a new generation of plants to feed millions of hungry people across the world. For decades, this Green Revolution enabled food production to rise in scale with population growth. But those advances have reached their biological limits and new innovations will be crucial to keep pace with this century’s growing population: 8.5 billion by 2030, 9.7 billion by 2050, and 11.2 billion by 2100. Today, we have the knowledge and tools to usher in the next Green Revolution, enabling farmers to produce more in this century than in the history of humankind. While no single strategy will achieve the 50% to 70% increase in production needed to meet the demands of 2050, improving photosynthesis remains a source of untapped potential. Our team of scientists is hacking this complex 170-step process in which plants convert light and carbon dioxide into the sugars that fuel growth and higher yields. RIPE formed in 2012, funded by a $25-million, five-year grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2017, following our groundbreaking proof-of-concept success, the project received a $45 million, five-year reinvestment from the Gates Foundation, the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, and the U.K. Department for International Development to continue the project’s transformative research.