Dalhousie University seeks collaboration with SEARCA on scholarship and capacity building

  • By Zara Mae Estareja
  • 29 May 2024

Dalhousie University seeks collaboration with SEARCA on scholarship and capacity building

Assistant Vice President for Global Relations Dr. Balakrishnan Prithiviraj of Dalhousie University visited the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) on 22 May 2024 to explore potential areas of collaboration. He was accompanied by the University of the Philippines Los Baños Vice Chancellor for Research and Extension Dr. Nathaniel Bantayan.

Dalhousie University is Nova Scotia, Canada's leading research-intensive university. With 13 faculties, it combines exceptional student experience, high-impact research, and a deep sense of social responsibility. It welcomes 21,000 students from Canada and more than 115 countries around the world.

Dalhousie University seeks collaboration with SEARCA on scholarship and capacity buildingDuring the visit, Dr. Prithiviraj was given an overview of SEARCA's mandate, core programs, and offerings.

Ms. Bernice Anne De Torres, a program specialist from the Research and Thought Leadership Department, shared the Center's plan to launch the Consortium for Agricultural Development, Research, and Extension (CADRE), a regional network of high-caliber, like-minded institutions that will collaborate to deliver research and extension support on the most pressing issues and challenges faced by the Southeast Asian agriculture sector. She also discussed the Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources (AFNR) Knowledge Platform, a knowledge generation to knowledge utilization community of practice. Ms. De Torres also presented other notable projects, such as the School-plus-Home Garden Project (SHGP) in Laguna, Philippines and its offshoot projects, namely, the School-Plus-Home Gardens cum Biodiversity Enhancement and Enterprise (SHGBEE) in Palawan, Philippines and Cambodia, and the School Edible Landscaping for Entrepreneurship (SEL4E) in Rizal, Philippines.

Meanwhile, Ms. Lichelle Dara Carlos, a program specialist from the Emerging Innovation for Growth Department, introduced the recently concluded Young Agripreneurs Building Opportunities, Nurturing Growth Bootcamp, a three-month training that aimed to help young farmers succeed in vegetable farming and entrepreneurship. She also shared about the Rice Straw Biogas Hub (RSBH), a three-year joint venture funded by Innovate UK to generate biogas as clean energy from waste rice straw and provide innovative technology services for rice farmers.

Dr. Prithiviraj was also briefed on the Center's scholarship and grant programs, including the SEARCA Travel Grants Program; the SEARCA Faculty and Student Mobility Grant; the Seed Fund for Research and Training (SFRT), which provides starter funds to researchers and scientists who significantly contribute to Southeast Asian agriculture but lack the funding to carry out their projects; and the Grants for Research towards Agricultural Innovative Solutions (GRAINS), which provides starter funds not only to researchers and scientists but also to inventors and agripreneurs to scale up their technology or innovation model.

He expressed strong interest in partnering with SEARCA on a joint PhD program and various capacity-building initiatives.

Dalhousie University seeks collaboration with SEARCA on scholarship and capacity building

Dr. Prithiviraj and Dr. Bantayan were received by Assoc. Prof. Joselito Florendo, SEARCA deputy director for administration. With them in the meeting were Ms. Sharon Malaiba, head of the Partnerships Unit (PU); Ms. De Torres; Ms. Carlos; and key PU staff. The visitors were given a tour of the SEARCA Hub for Agriculture and Rural Innovation for the Next Generation (SHARING).