US prof discusses collaboration prospects with SEARCA

A PROFESSOR from the United States-based Michigan State University (MSU) and the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) have discussed collaboration prospects on research, innovation, capacity building and publication.

Prof. Evangelyn Alocilja of MSU Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering visited SEARCA on May 28 and was oriented on the center's mandate, core programs and offerings.

SEARCA program head Gerlie Tatlonghari of the Research and Thought Leadership Department shared the center's plan to establish the Consortium for Agricultural Development, Research and Extension (CADRE).

Tatlonghari explained that CADRE is 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 Alocilja, also a SEARCA senior fellow, in its operationalization.

The Research and Thought Leadership Department head also introduced the Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Knowledge Platform which is knowledge generation to knowledge utilization community of practice.

SEARCA program specialist Darlyn Angeles from the Emerging Innovation for Growth Department showcased the center's innovation competitions. These included the recently concluded Young Agripreneurs Building Opportunities, Nurturing Growth or Yabong Bootcamp, a three-month training that aimed to help young farmers succeed in vegetable farming and entrepreneurship.

Angeles 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."

Alocilja noted that MSU has an annual innovation challenge focusing on the most pressing global challenges and is open to students and professionals worldwide.

SEARCA senior program head Maria Cristeta Cuaresma of the Education and Collective Learning Department talked about the center's collaboration with leading universities for the Erasmus+ capacity-building project on Postgraduate Micro-Credentials for Food Security and Climate Change.

Alocilja responded by proposing to work with the center on MSU's certificate course on entrepreneurial engineering suggesting co-developing the second phase of the course, adding a mentorship component.

Lanie Reyes of SEARCA Applied Knowledge Resources Unit (AKRU) also led the discussion on the 20th anniversary issue of the "Asian Journal for Agriculture and Development" or AJAD, in which eminent authors including senior SEARCA fellows were invited to contribute.

Since 2024, AJAD has been SEARCA's international refereed journal and 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.

Alocilja said she will be writing a roadmap for the reengineering agricultural innovation in Southeast Asia.

Receiving Alocilja during the visit was SEARCA Director Glenn Gregorio.

Gregorio was joined by Cuaresma; Tatlonghari; Sharon Malaiba, SEARCA Partnerships Unit head; Reyes; Beatrisa Martinez, SEARCA office of the director executive coordinator; Monalinda Cadiz, program specialist from AKRU; Angeles; and key PU staff.