The Southeast Asian University Consortium for Graduate Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC) member universities improved their ranking in the 2020 QS World University Rankings (WUR) by Subject on Agriculture and Forestry. University of British Columbia (UBC), University of Gottingen, Kasetsart University (KU), Institut Pertanian Bogor (IPB), and Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) all placed in the top 100 with UBC taking the 14th rank and University of Gottingen placing in 21st worldwide. National Taiwan University (NTU) ranked in the 101-150th place while Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) and University of the Philippines (UP) placed in the 151-200th. Universitas Brawijaya (UB) was in the 301-350th spot.
The QS WUR by subject ranks the universities based on their international reputation and research impact using data on academic and employer reputation, research citations, and H-index. Among the UC members, IPB was rated highest in academic reputation and employer reputation with scores of 73.7 and 81.3 respectively. In terms of H-index citations and citations per paper, UBC led with scores of 93 and 87.3 respectively. Among the members, KU showed consistency with their scores for all the criteria.
SEARCA assists the member universities in these four factors through its graduate scholarships, research grants, capacity building activities, and management of the UC grants and projects as Secretariat.
In terms of employer reputation, employability of the graduates is an important factor in the evaluation. SEARCA offers various scholarship grants and training to support the development of human resource capacity in agriculture throughout the region. These grants and capacity building activities contribute in producing graduates relevant to the market needs and are equipped to address the changing challenges faced by agriculture.
In terms of strengthening research capacities among the institutions, SEARCA offers the Seed Fund for Research and Training (SFRT) which provides start up funding for promising research and training projects while the UC offers the Seed Fund for Collaborative Research among its members to encourage institutional collaborations on research. The UC also organizes activities for both faculty and students to disseminate research through an open platform while a student grant for research activities and publication is also extended by the consortium to its member institutions.
The UC also supports the members’ academic reputation internationally through the provision of travel grants for research, conference, seminar, and mobility. Academic reputation in the world ranking is measured by identifying institutions seen as leaders in various fields by academicians worldwide. Through the UC members’ participation in research and academic exchanges, it allows both faculty and graduate students to become ambassadors of their own universities to other international institutions. Annual UC activities such as the Faculty Forum, Graduate Forum, and the Summer School greatly contribute to this as different institutions gather to share their research, knowledge, and expertise on pressing issues in agriculture.
As SEARCA implements its 11th Five Year Plan (FYP), focus will be given to strengthening the academe-industry-government interconnectivity towards agriculture and rural development which will further assist the universities in their academic and research programs.