Our Story

Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency (RIPE) is an international research project that is engineering crops to be more productive by improving photosynthesis, the natural process all plants use to convert sunlight into energy and yields. By equipping farmers with higher-yielding crops, we can ensure that everyone has access to enough food to lead a healthy, productive life.

In the last century, plant scientists bred 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 from the RIPE project and other efforts 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 percent increase in production needed to meet the demands of 2050, improving photosynthesis remains a source of untapped potential. Today, our team is hacking the complex 170-step photosynthetic process to realize global food sustainability in this century. 

The RIPE project was formed in 2012 and was funded by a five-year, $25-million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2017, the project received a $45-million, five-year reinvestment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, and U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office. In 2018, the project received a $13 million supplemental investment to add resources and personnel to accelerate the translation of the project's successes into food crops. In 2023, the previous funding cycle ended, and RIPE moved forward with a $34-million, four-year investment from Bill & Melinda Gates Agricultural Innovations (Gates Ag One). The RIPE project and its sponsors collaborate on the mission to accelerate crop innovations that hold the potential to deliver the greatest possible impact for smallholder farmers.

The work of the RIPE project is funded with the generous support of Bill & Melinda Gates Agricultural Innovations (Gates Ag One) to focus on increasing photosynthetic efficiency.