As part of ongoing efforts to enhance CIMMYT’s skills base and increase links with external organizations, a delegation from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln visited on 05 September to discuss possible collaborations. Potential partnerships include student exchanges, e-learning courses, and joint research projects. The day started with presentations of both groups to get to know each others’ activities and identify areas of interest, and concluded with the development of an action plan.
Steve Mason, Professor of Crop Production and Management, University of Nebraska, highlighted the natural research facilities afforded by Nebraska’s diverse rainfall, temperature, and soil content conditions. The University has statewide research stations, and its researchers are able to adapt to different environmental conditions; a vital prerequisite to incorporating Mexico-based research.
Mason said the department of Agronomy and Horticulture at the University is keen to further develop field-, landscape-, and community-level research, possibly through graduate student field research at CIMMYT. Bram Govaerts, Head of CIMMYT’s Mexico-based Conservation Agriculture Program, pointed out that the converse situation could also be beneficial, with talented students from developing countries being identified by CIMMYT and given the opportunity to study in Nebraska. The University of Nebraska currently has the capacity to supervise more graduate students in certain research areas such as crop physiology and production, soil and water sciences, and weed science. John Lindquist, Professor and Plant Ecologist at the University of Nebraska, indicated that their weed science group generally has strong federal and industry grant support, and currently has ten students, mostly doing applied research.
The Agronomy and Horticulture Department professors expressed their interest in having some of their field guides and extension materials produced in Spanish, and in return CIMMYT would be able to use the materials.
Discussions will continue between CIMMYT and the University of Nebraska team on possible areas of development.