Investing in education, research and innovation for climate-smart crops in India

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To strengthen the competencies of Indian scientists in climate change-related topics and to foster a generation of high-level teachers in India, 30 scientists/assistant professors and 16 students were selected for undergoing training in European partner institutes at a recent AdaptNET management committee meeting. The group also took stock of e-learning laboratory establishment at Indian partner universities, brainstormed on the possibility to update the curricula of graduate programs in Indian institutes, and arrived at an action plan for upcoming years of the project.

The AdaptNET project (2018-2021) is a bridge between higher education institutions in India and Europe, sharing the common aim of reducing climate change impact on agriculture and developing climate-smart crops. It will support financially the mobility of Indian scientists. During the course of the project, the selected Indian scientists will be trained through four specially designed workshops and the students will receive scholarships to undergo training programs at AdaptNET partner institutes in Europe, said Prof Andreas Voloudakis from the Agricultural University of Athens, and Coordinator of AdaptNET project, reiterating the the main objective of the project.

Capacity building and entrepreneurship development are clearly one of the most important activities to nurture our future scientists. AdaptNET is a very relevant project in this context, said Dr Peter Carberry, Director General, ICRISAT. With ICRISAT as one of the partners, this project should serve as an innovation program that provides more opportunities for two-way learning and exchange of knowledge, he added.

The project’s Principal Investigators shared their views in the meeting. Dr Rajeev K Varshney, Research Program Director-Genetic Gains, ICRISAT said, “Partnerships like this bring together multidisciplinary teams for better exchange of knowledge by bringing in experts from different parts of the world”. Prof Bidyut Sarmah from Assam Agricultural University, said that Indian universities in addition to following the Indian Council of Agricultural Research norms should explore the possibility of having a complimentary program on climate-smart crops through the AdaptNET project to build capacities and skills of teachers and students. Prof Debendra Chandra Baruah from Tezpur University, Assam, apprised the committee on quality assurance and highlighted different aspects of the process, templates, outcome, feedback, etc. As part of discussions during this session, it was agreed by the committee members to have two additional members (one from Asia and one from USA) as external members of the quality assurance committee.

Prof Carlo Pozzi, University of Milano; Ms Giovanna Lanzavecchia, Università Politecnica delle Marche; Ms Anu Chitikineni, ICRISAT and Dr John Kapsomenakis, Academy of Athens, made presentations on the proposed workshops. The committee discussed and finalized the structure and content of the proposed workshops to be conducted in the coming years.

The second management committee meeting of AdaptNET was held at ICRISAT, Hyderabad, during 14-16 October.

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Project: AdaptNET “Strengthening education, research and innovation for climate-smart crops in India” an ERASMUS+ CAPACITY BUILDING project

Funder: ERASMUS+ program of the European Union

Partners: The Agricultural University of Athens, Greece coordinates this project with seven other executing partners (Assam Agriculture University, Tezpur University, University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad, ICRISAT, Academy of Athens, University of Milano and Polytechnic University of Marche) and two associated partners (SPREADNE and Ecosystems).

CRP: Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals

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