SEARCA and Michigan State University professor discuss collaboration prospects on research, innovation, capacity building, and publication

  • By Zara Mae Estareja
  • 6 June 2024

Dr. Evangelyn Alocilja, a professor from the Michigan State University (MSU) Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering and senior fellow of the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), visited the Center on 28 May to discuss opportunities for collaboration on research, innovation, capacity building, and publication projects.

SEARCA and Michigan State University professor discuss collaboration prospects on research, innovation, capacity building, and publication

During the visit, she was oriented on SEARCA's mandate, core programs, and offerings.

Dr. Gerlie Tatlonghari, program head of the Research and Thought Leadership Department, shared the Center's plan to establish 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 issues and challenges faced by the Southeast Asian agriculture sector. She explained CADRE's concept and expressed interest in involving Dr. Alocilja in its operationalization. Dr. Tatlonghari also introduced the Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resources (AFNR) Knowledge Platform, a knowledge generation to knowledge utilization community of practice.

Ms. Darlyn Angeles, a program specialist from the Emerging Innovation for Growth Department, showcased their innovation competitions, including 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. Moreover, she also discussed Innovation Olympics 2.0, an agri hackathon for the youth to develop innovative solutions to the challenges faced by urban and rural smallholder vegetable farmers. Dr. Alocilja noted that MSU also has an annual innovation challenge, which focuses on the most pressing global challenges and is open to students and professionals worldwide.

Meanwhile, Dr. Maria Cristeta Cuaresma, senior program head of the Education and Collective Learning Department, talked about SEARCA's collaboration with leading universities for the ERASMUS+ capacity-building project on Postgraduate Micro-Credentials for Food Security and Climate Change. In response, Dr. Alocilja proposed working with the Center on MSU's certificate course on entrepreneurial engineering. She suggested co-developing the second phase of the course, adding a mentorship component.

Ms. Lanie Reyes, head of SEARCA's Applied Knowledge Resources Unit (AKRU), led the discussion on the 20th anniversary issue of the Asian Journal for Agriculture and Development (AJAD), in which eminent authors including senior SEARCA fellows were invited to contribute. Dr. Alocilja will be writing on a roadmap for the reengineering agricultural innovation in Southeast Asia. AJAD, SEARCA's international refereed journal, has been creating greater awareness of the latest findings in research, state-of-the-art technologies, new methodologies, and policy concerns in inclusive and sustainable agricultural and rural development since 2004.

Dr. Alocilja was received by SEARCA Center Director Dr. Glenn Gregorio. He was joined by Dr. Cuaresma; Dr. Tatlonghari; Ms. Sharon Malaiba, head of the Partnerships Unit (PU); Ms. Reyes; Ms. Beatrisa Martinez, executive coordinator, Office of the Director; Ms. Monalinda Cadiz, a program specialist from AKRU; Ms. Angeles; and key PU staff.