M S Swaminathan Research Foundation

Advances agricultural and rural development through science and technology, benefiting millions worldwide

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  • Headquarters

    Chennai, Tamil Nadu

  • Since


The M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), was established in 1988 as a not-for-profit Trust. It was founded by Professor M S Swaminathan, utili Read morezing the proceeds from the First World Food Prize awarded to him in 1987. MSSRF's primary objective is to expedite the application of modern science and technology in the realms of agricultural and rural development, ultimately enhancing the well-being and sustenance of communities. In pursuing this goal, it adopts a pro-poor, pro-women, and pro-nature approach, employing appropriate science and technology solutions to address practical challenges encountered by rural populations in agriculture, food, and nutrition. These endeavours are carried out collaboratively, engaging with knowledge-based institutions, public and private sector entities, and local communities. Over the years, MSSRF has evolved from its modest beginnings and has left a significant imprint in numerous aspects. Its impact has been profound, touching the lives of over 600,000 farming families and positively affecting the livelihoods of 100,000 farmers and fisherfolk on a daily basis. This influence extends across 18 countries, showcasing the organisation's commitment to driving positive change in agricultural and rural development.

Demographies Served


  • Coastal Systems Research Programme

    The Coastal Systems Research Programme focuses on the integration of ecological security in coastal areas and the livelihood security of coastal communities. It does this by emphasizing the sustainable management of coastal resources, with a particular focus on mangrove wetlands. Mangroves serve multiple purposes, including disaster mitigation by reducing the impact of cyclones, storm surges, and tsunamis in coastal regions. Additionally, it offers livelihood opportunities to numerous artisanal fishers and provides crucial habitats for wildlife. In response to Dr M S Swaminathan's proposal in 1981, the programme initiated a dual approach in 1991, comprising the conservation of mangrove wetlands and the sustainable utilization of their resources, particularly through research on salt-tolerant crop varieties derived from mangrove plant genes.

  • Biodiversity Conservation Programme

    MSSRF's primary focus is biodiversity conservation, achieved through research, community engagement, and policy advocacy. Guided by principles like local participation and gender equality, it aims to enhance the livelihoods and food security of marginalized rural communities, particularly in biodiversity hotspots in India. The vision is a society with food and nutrition security, health, and ecological stability, sustained through agrobiodiversity preservation. The mission is to eliminate hunger, ensure food security, and empower communities by conserving and responsibly using agrobiodiversity. The goal is to bolster diverse and nutritious food access, particularly among vulnerable populations, strengthening their resilience. Current work areas include Kolli Hills, Tamil Nadu; Koraput, Odisha; and Wayanad, Kerala, with expansion plans in other hotspots and rainfed regions. Collaboration and fundraising will drive aligned initiatives across programme areas.

  • Biotechnology Programme

    MSSRF's Biotechnology programme conducts strategic research using local resources to combat environmental degradation and climate challenges. It employs advanced sciences, focusing on bioprospecting microbes and plants to enhance soil and plant health. The Nutri-garden approach promotes nutrition, bridging agriculture and health. It studies stress-tolerant species, transfers technology to small farmers, and educates through 'The Every Child A Scientist' programme. Over 30 years, it has achieved significant research milestones and collaborations, with a vision to enhance agricultural resilience and ensure nutrition security through biotechnological tools.

  • Ecotechnology Programme

    MSSRF's Ecotechnology programme launched in 1996 with support from the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust, promotes sustainable agriculture and rural development. Guided by principles like ecology, economy, equity, employment, and energy, it utilizes diverse technologies to enhance rural livelihoods and address challenges such as climate change. The mission is to empower both men and women in smallholder agriculture through eco-technologies, targeting 15,000 individuals on 10,000 hectares by 2025. This includes developing resilient food production systems, eco-tools for water and soil management, and fostering institutional innovations. The programme conducts transdisciplinary research with a gender-responsive approach to influence evidence-based policies, collaborating closely with Government agencies. Key thematic areas include sustainable food systems, water resource management, and soil health for climate-resilient agriculture.

  • Agriculture, Nutrition and Health Programme

    MSSRF's Agriculture, Nutrition, and Health programme prioritizes food and nutrition security. It includes research, community interventions, capacity building, and policy advocacy, focusing on rural communities in biodiversity hotspots. Established in 2004, the Food Security programme collaborates with various organisations and conducts research on food insecurity, community food grain banks, women's empowerment, and agriculture-nutrition linkages. It promotes Farming Systems for Nutrition (FSN) among small farmers. The programme aligns with SDGs, particularly SDG2 (Zero Hunger) and SDG3 (Good Health), considering SDG5 (Gender Equality) and SDG13 (Climate Action).

Leadership Team

  • Dr. G N Hariharan

    Executive Director

  • Dr. Rengalakshmi R

    Director - Ecotechnology

  • Dr. Israel Oliver King

    Director - Biodiversity

  • Dr. Shakeela V

    Directer - CAbC

  • Dr. Prabavathy V R

    Director - Biotechnology

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  • Headquarters

    3rd Cross Street, Institutional Area, Taramani, Chennai , India, 600113


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