Thursday, May 2, 2013



With an aim to team-up in terms of research and academics, a seven-member delegation from the Purdue University (PU), USA, visited the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) today to explore and discuss the possibilities of bilateral collaboration. The delegation interacted with Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon, Vice-Chancellor, PAU; Dr Ramesh Kanwar, Vice-Chancellor, Lovely Professional University, Jalandhar; Dr S.S. Gosal, Director of Research; Dr Gursharan Singh, Dean, Postgraduate Studies; Dr H.S. Sehgal, Additional Director of Communication; and other additional directors, heads, and faculty of various departments of the University. The members gave power point presentations on collaborative opportunities and different aspects of agriculture.

The visiting delegation, led by Dr Karen Plaut, Associate Dean and Director of Agricultural Research; comprised members namely Dr K.G. Raghothama, Associate Director, International Programmes in Agriculture; Dr Joe Anderson, Head, Department of Agronomy; Dr Mitch Tuinstra, Department of Plant Breeding, Dr Charlie Wolushuk, Department of Botany and Plant Pathology; Dr Indrajeet Choubey, Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering; and Alex L. Renaud, Department of Agronomy.

In his remarks, Dr Dhillon said that there are many mutual areas for the joint venture including water use efficiency, climate change, farm mechanization, and bio-energy. Disclosing that the state is producing 11 tonnes of paddy and wheat per annum, Dr Dhillon said that the duo can also tie-up in the area of value addition to agriculture. Besides, there can be cooperation in the exchange of faculty as well, he added.

Speaking on the research opportunities in the College of Agriculture, PU, USA; Dr K. Plaut said, "We are looking ahead in building partnerships with the international varsities." She observed that feeding and providing energy to the growing population by using fewer resources is a big challenge. Stating that there are lots of possibilities to address the grand challenges, she suggested certain cooperative areas such as undergraduate study abroad, graduate students and faculty exchange programmes, and setting-up of a joint research centre.

In his remarks, Dr Raghothama suggested, "We have good agri-business, agri-economics and nanotechnology programmes. There are many opportunities to enter into academic partnership. We can also collaborate in research areas such as evolvement of water conservation and climate resilient technologies." He expressed that the major purpose of their visit to the PAU is to have the perspective of this farm varsity and make joint efforts to increase the food production.

Presenting the research highlights of the PAU, Dr Gosal said that the application of biotechnology tools in crop improvement, hybrid seed production of vegetable and field crops, and conservation agriculture are some of the priority research areas of the University. Dr Gosal expressed, "We can supplement each other in different research areas such as development of climate resilient and water saving technologies, heat tolerance in maize, and drought tolerance in maize and sorghum."

Dr Gursharan Singh highlighted the collaborative academic programmes with various international institutes.

Earlier, Dr Sehgal welcomed the dignitaries, delegates, and the faculty of the PAU. Giving outlines of the organizational set-up of the PAU, he said that the University has completed 50 years of glorious and dedicated service to the farmers and the nation. Modeled on the pattern of Land Grant University of USA, the PAU is working on more than 100 crops, he told.

Dr D.S. Brar, Adjunct Professor at PAU School of Agricultural Biotechnology (SAB), while suggesting the preparation of the project for the collaboration in any area, said that if the graduate students go for training in US, it will be enormous benefit to them. It can only happen through a concrete funding proposal.

In their presentations, the delegation members dwelt upon climate resilient agriculture; heat stress tolerance in maize; strategies to reduce mycotoxin contamination in grain and grain-based food; excellence in global agriculture, virus resistance in wheat and oats; water availability, food and bio-energy production challenges; and late season drought tolerance in maize and sorghum. They also visited Crops Museum and Dr Uppal Museum of Water and Power Resources of Northern India at PAU.
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