SEARCA, IFS gather scientists, experts vs climate change

  • 23 November 2018

Source: The Manila Times
23 Nov 2018

LOS BAÑOS, Laguna: Twenty-seven young scientists and 10 experts serving as mentors from eight Southeast Asian countries met on Tuesday and Wednesday here for a two-day workshop to enhance ongoing collaborative research on climate change adaptation and mitigation in the agriculture sector.

The workshop, titled "IFS-SEARCA Mentoring Workshop on Collaborative Research in Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation," was organized by the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) and the International Foundation for Science (IFS) based in Sweden. It was held at the SEARCA headquarters here.

The 27 participants, 15 of whom were female, composed the 12 collaborative research teams from various government, research, academic and private institutions in Southeast Asia that received a research grant financed by the Carolina MacGillavry endowment and SEARCA.

"This workshop is part of the memorandum of agreement for an IFS-SEARCA Collaborative Research Grants Pilot. This is the third batch of grantees facilitated by IFS but the first one in Asia. The first and second pilots were implemented in Africa in 2013 and 2014," SEARCA said in a statement.

In the workshop orientation, Maria Celeste Cadiz, PhD, a technical advisor of SEARCA, said the mentoring process is expected to help the researchers in strengthening their processes, ensuring that their projects are of high quality and producing useful results. The grants commenced in 2017 and are expected to be completed by December 2020. Thus, the workshop was timed while the researchers were in the midst of analyzing their research and writing their reports.

During the first day of the workshop, participants identified the following areas of their mentoring needs and concerns: research methods and data analysis; project-specific technical concerns; collaborative scientific report writing; journal article writing and other means of communicating research results; intellectual ownership/property rights; and future grant opportunities and additional budget.

The teams were able to report their research progress and get feedback from their mentors in a one-on-one setting for project-specific questions and in a plenary for cross-cutting concerns.

"The mentors are volunteers identified by SEARCA and IFS from a pool of established regional and international scientists from esteemed research and academic institutions including the Central Luzon State University in the Philippines, International Rice Research Institute, Katsetsart University in Thailand, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, University of the Philippines Los Baños, and University of the Philippines Visayas," SEARCA said.

Aside from their mentors, the research teams were also able to get inputs from resource persons from IFS and SEARCA, while Nighisty Ghezae, PhD, IFS director, presented the challenges and lessons learned from the first and second pilot grantees. Bessie Burgos, PhD, technical advisor for SEARCA research and development, presented the mid-term report of the current batch of researchers.