VFRC Fact Sheet

What is the VFRC?

The Virtual Fertilizer Research Center (VFRC) is a global research initiative to create the next generation of fertilizers and production technologies. Created by the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC), VFRC partners with universities, public and private research laboratories and the global fertilizer and agribusiness industries to bring together the world’s best scientific, business and government minds to create a research system producing more food with fewer wasted resources and a reduced environmental impact.

For what purpose was the VFRC founded?

The VFRC was established in 2010 to fast-track the development of a new generation of rapidly deployable fertilizer technologies that will enable responsible and sustainable food security. Currently, investment in fertilizer research by the $320 billion fertilizer industry amounts to 0.1 percent of revenue, whereas the seed and medical industries spend up to 10-20 percent of their revenues in the development of new products. More fertilizer research is vital because of the inherent inefficiency of current fertilizers and especially in light of low yield agriculture in Africa (and other developing nations) and the challenge of feeding a 9.3 billion-strong global population in 2050 in harmony with nature.

How will VFRC do this?

The VFRC helps develop and commercialize innovative research into the ‘next generation’ of fertilizers and fertilizer interventions to assist smallholder farmers in developing regions.

No fundamental changes have taken place in the basic concepts of fertilizer development and production over the past few decades. So far, fertilizers have been developed by chemists and industrial process technologists. VFRC assumes the intellectual leadership in developing a research agenda engaging a global network of experts for the development of novel fertilizers based on fundamental insights about biological processes of the plant and micro-organisms, and of the soil and atmosphere.

The VFRC creates an environment in which these processes and products will be developed and lead as a catalyst, change-agent, stimulator and initiator. It serves as the global coordinator and intellectual leader among partners to ensure efficient, consistent and persistent processes in order to arrive at tangible fertilizer products and production technologies.

How does VFRC operate?

The VFRC is a semi-autonomous unit of IFDC, operating as an initiative that is ultimately the fiduciary responsibility of the IFDC Board of Directors. The VFRC is governed by an international Board of Advisors, composed of 12 members from developed and developing countries.

The VFRC generates its own funding base to cover its operating budget and for project grants.

A small core scientific team, led by the Executive Director, is located in Washington, D.C., to coordinate development efforts, monitor and report on results and accept legal accountability. Staff from IFDC supports in operational matters.

Who are the VFRC’s partners?

A list of current network partners can be found here.

Scientists and institutions that are equipped to engage in collaborative research and interested in the concepts and evolving research agenda of VFRC and can contact pbindraban@ifdc.org.