The Southeast Asian University Consortium for Graduate Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC) conducted its 35th Executive Board Meeting on 25-26 November 2022, hosted by Universitas Brawijaya (UB) in Malang, Indonesia. UB hosted the meeting back-to-back with this year’s 6th UC Summer School. The hybrid meeting was attended by representatives from Institut Pertanian Bogor (IPB), Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM), Kasetsart University (KU), Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), Tokyo University of Agriculture (Tokyo NODAI), National Taiwan University (NTU), Maejo University (MJU), Visayas State University (VSU), and Central Luzon State University (CLSU). The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) attended the meeting as the Secretariat of the UC.
During the meeting, the members proposed new activities and grants for 2023, including the Young Researcher Grant and the Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Program. The Young Researcher Grant will serve as a start-up fund for new researchers of UC member institutions. The Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Program provides for the faculty members of the UC who are recent PhD graduates to conduct multidisciplinary and intersectoral research in agriculture and rural development, natural resources, forestry, and environmental science in another UC member institution. These two grants will join the regular offerings of the UC for the constituents of its member universities.
The Board approved in principle the proposed Sustainability Transition Schools for simultaneous implementation in Africa, Southeast Asia and Europe but focusing on a common sustainability challenge. These Schools are expected to create opportunities for knowledge co-creation among students, promote transdisciplinary action on sustainability challenges; strengthen collaborative capacities of researchers and other stakeholders in co-creative approaches, establish a global network of sustainability agents, and assess common sustainability challenges that would enable a global conversation on sustainability and transformation pathways. The first School is scheduled tentatively in July 2024.
The UC Executive Board explored a partnership with Winrock International, a non-profit organization that provides solutions to social, agricultural, and environmental issues through a combination of technical expertise and entrepreneurial innovation. The collaboration will look into possible joint activities in climate-smart innovations in the region. The meeting also saw the initial application of three Philippine universities that vied for membership. These universities virtually presented their programs for consideration to the consortium.
The UC Executive Board likewise planned for the 2023-2025 annual activities to give host universities more time to design their conduct. For 2023, the Summer School will be hosted by KU, while the Graduate Forum shall be hosted by MJU, both in Thailand. The Faculty Forum will be organized by VSU in the Philippines while the Executive Board meeting will be hosted by NTU in Taipei, Taiwan. Hosts for succeeding year’s activities will be reconfirmed in the next Executive Board meeting.
For more information about the UC and its annual activities, grants, and scholarships, visit https://uc.searca.org/.