The International Rubber Research and Development Board (IRRDB) is a research and development network which brings together natural rubber research institutes in virtually all the natural rubber producing countries, covering 95 per cent of world natural rubber production. The experience of these institutes is that membership of the IRRDB introduces a valuable new dimension:
- to enable them to join forces, on a flexible and deliberately informal basis,
- to share their experiences and problems,to avoid wasteful duplication of work,
- to pool their financial resources, where appropriate, to perform activities which are too large or expensive for a single institute.
The origins of the IRRDB go back to 1934. The International Rubber Regulation Committee was formed to protect natural rubber producers from the effects of the extremely low prices of the mid 1930s: it attempted to regulate production and exports to adjust supply to match demand. The Committee also recognized the importance of encouraging properly targeted research and development. In 1937 it established the International Rubber Research Board to co-ordinate the work of national institutes and an International Rubber Development Committee to undertake commercial development of research findings. In 1960 these two bodies were fused to create the IRRDB.
The IRRDB today covers all aspects of natural rubber, from the cultivation of Hevea to the development of new products.