Agrinatura President Statement at the 13th RUFORUM AGM at the BICC, Lilongwe, Malawi

  • 30th October 2017
  • by secretary
Agrinatura News
Addressed at the RUFORUM 13th Annual General Meeting,

I come with warm regards from the member universities within AGRINATURA, the European Alliance of Life Science Universities that work with Agricultural for Global Development. The connections between our member universities are many. These European/African interactions tell tales of years together: distant travels, long meetings and skype calls; concept notes etched out, applications written, deadlines met, projects started, outputs measured. All in the name of science as a means to improve people’s lives.

What lies as the basis for all of this is the trust and the common values that we share. We together strive for excellence in higher education, research and capacity development.

The similarities between the AGRINATURA member universities and RUFORUM member universities face are many: we all firmly believe that agricultural research and education has an enormous potential in alleviating poverty. We all work to bring young people into the arena of passion for agriculture and agribusiness. We all want to give them the tools they need to lead future generations in the task of attaining sustainable agriculture systems. These aspects are equally important for the European and African countries.

The similarities of the African and European universities go further, we all have mandates to conduct high quality research and higher education. We also have the responsibility to see that our research results are integrated into the education of our students and that they are made useful to society.

But how do we know that conduct high quality research and education? What are the currencies of our university sector? A few of the currencies of today are the numbers of Master degrees, number of PhDs, number of publications in peer-reviewed journals, and the number of citations per article. So one of our jobs is to help create systems that allow us to produce these metrics.

I’ll tell a story of one of AGRINATURA’s universities, my own university – the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. We have for the past five or so years had about 20% of our Web of Science noted publications in joint authorship with partner universities in low-income countries. These are highly cited works; a validation that the research questions that we jointly address are relevant and have high impact on both the academic world and on society as a whole. Many of the publications come from work done in conjunction with PhD students from the African countries that are members of RUFORUM.

AGRINATURA is here today to further build on the partnerships with RUFORUM’s member universities, and because we stand behind RUFORUM’s call for an ecosystem approach to sustainable and inclusive agriculture for development. Our joint task is to build regenerative systems for addressing food security issues.

Dr. Carolyn Glynn
Agrinatura President
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Agricultural Sciences for Global Development (SLU Global)