Mark Bell, PhD

Director, International Learning Center

Mark Bell joined UC Davis in 2007 after spending 20 years based at International Agricultural Research Centers in both Mexico and the Philippines. Bell has a MSc in Soil Science from the University of Reading, UK and a PhD in Soil Science from the University of Queensland in Australia – where he also did his B Ag Sc. His interests have grown to focus on how we better provide poor farmers around the world with the information they need and want - looking at both traditional and new (information Communication Technology) methods in extension. He is a skilled field agronomist who has developed a number of major on-line diagnostic crop tools (e.g., Rice Doctor, Maize Dr and Wheat Dr).

He has spent considerable time working in the areas of research-extension linkages, adult education and the use of Information Communication Technology (ICT) to improve communication in Agricultural development and research. He led the project that developed the Rice Knowledge Bank – the world’s major repository for rice-oriented training and extension materials aimed to help developing countries - and presently leads the effort to develop Ag Extension, eAfghan Ag and e-China Apple. In recent years, he has spent considerable time working with various partners to build capacity in country extension systems - developing frameworks for implementation, identifying skills required (both technical and methodological) and looking for the potential opportunities to blend emerging tools with traditional approaches. See the Extension and ICT oriented sites.

At UC Davis, he has led the development of the International Learning Center - the university’s innovation to develop and deliver international training courses.

Bell was Head of both International programs and the Training Center at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), where he led the project on bridging the gap between research and extension and where he also directed major bilateral projects in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos and Madagascar.