BRRI is a major component of the National Agricultural Research System (NARS) of Bangladesh, dealing with research and development in relation to rice production, the staple food for our people. The institute was established on October 1, 1970 as the East Pakistan Rice Research Institute (EPRRI) at Joydebpur, a small township 36 km north of the capital city Dhaka. After the independence in 1971, the institute was renamed as the 'Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI)' through the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute Act-1973 (Act X of 1973). Presently, in accordance with the provisions of the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (Amendment) Act-1996 (Act V of 1996) and BRRI Act-2017, a Board of Management holds full responsibility to determine the policies and undertakings of the institute within the framework of policy directives issued by the Government of Bangladesh. The Director General, who is, ex officio, the Chairman of the Board of Management is the executive head of the institute. The institute operates with 19 research divisions, 11 regional stations, 3 support service divisions and 8 sections, with a total manpower of 786, of them, 308 are scientists/agriculture engineers/officers. About one-third of scientists are highly trained professionals with MS and PhD degrees.
The rice-growing environments in Bangladesh is very diverse, varying from the drought-prone high lands in the north-west through the flood-affected central region to the coastal saline zone in the south. This diversity is indicated by the thirty major agroecological zones (AEZ) into which the country has been divided on the basis of land, soil, hydrology and climate. This diversity in the rice-growing environments makes the task of BRRI scientists all the more challenging. Research for the development of new rice varieties and production of other technologies for the diverse ecosystems existing in Bangladesh are conducted at the BRRI main station at Gazipur and eleven regional stations situated in Cumilla, Habiganj, Sonagazi of Feni, Bhanga of Faridpur, Barishal, Rajshahi, Kushtia, Satkhira, Sirajganj and Gopalganj districts.
The institute is equipped with modern research facilities that include laboratories, greenhouses and experimental fields. BRRI has a modern germplasm bank, twenty major laboratories, ten greenhouses, ten net houses and a 76.83-ha experimental farm at its headquarter at Gazipur. Besides, nine of the eleven regional stations also have reasonably good research facilities, particularly at field Levels Research facilities at the two newly established regional stations at Sirajganj and Gopalganj districts. BRRI breeders deviated from the original IRRI concept of dwarfism for high yield and restructured the IR8 plant type to suit local agro-ecology and socio-economic production environment. The new intermediate-height plant gives equally high yield and, at the same time, grows in uncontrolled water better than the semi-dwarf varieties. Bangladeshi farmers also prefer tall plants to produce cattle feed and roofing materials.