Asian Institute of Technology Dean Salam visits SEARCA

  • By Nathan Felix
  • 30 May 2023, Tuesday

asian institute technology dean salam visits searca 01

Dr. P. Adbul Salam, dean of the School of Environment, Resources, and Development of the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), visited the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) on 26 May 2023. Dr. Salam intended to better understand the Center’s undertakings, particularly its graduate scholarships and agricultural innovations.

AIT was interested in becoming eligible for membership in the SEARCA-initiated Southeast Asian University Consortium for Graduate Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC). The meeting also explored potential collaboration on faculty mobility and agricultural technology.

Dr. Maria Cristeta Cuaresma, senior program head of the Education and Collective Learning Department (ECLD), briefly discussed the membership application process and other pertinent information relevant to AIT’s accreditation to UC. Dr. Salam expressed the intention of AIT to apply for a full membership to access benefits, such as regional exchange and networking among member universities.

On the topic of Leveling-Up Philippine Higher Education Institutions in Agriculture, Fisheries, and Natural Resources (LevelUPHEI AFAR) project, Dr. Salam warmly received Dr. Cuaresma’s suggestion for SEARCA to send selected faculty members from the 75 State Universities and Colleges - Association of Colleges of Agriculture in the Philippines (SUC-ACAP) members to AIT. The recommendation would be implemented under the mobilities component of the LevelUPHEI AFAR project.

Dr. Salam noted that SEARCA and AIT could also explore short-term engagements such as research and academic fellowships.

SEARCA’s initiative on Rice Straw Biogas Hub (RSBH) was shared by Ms. Lichelle Dara Carlos and Ms. Imelda Batangantang, both program specialists from the Emerging Innovation for Growth Department (EIGD). The RSBH project is led by a United Kingdom (UK)-registered startup, Straw Innovations, in collaboration with SEARCA, the UK SME Koolmill, and UK academic partner Aston University. This three-year joint venture funded by Innovate UK aims to generate biogas as clean energy from waste rice straw and provide innovative technology services for rice farmers.

Ms. Carlos shared that the RSBH project’s next phase would be to explore other large-scale innovations to convert energy from the collected rice straw pellets. In relation to this, Dr. Salam shared his interest to be part of the project and help SEARCA promote the use of climate-smart good agricultural practices.

The EIGD team also mentioned that the Center recently held a Roundtable Discussion Series on Sustainable Food and Agriculture Systems in Southeast Asia in partnership with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). Dr. Salam expressed that AIT could be a partner for the next RTD series or any international conference focused on natural resource management.

Dr. Salam was received by the SEARCA management committee led by Director Dr. Glenn Gregorio.