Minister Micheál Martin T.D attends launch of PhD Research Scholars Programme by UCC and the International Inistute of Tropical Agriculture, Nigeria.
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Micheál Martin T.D., will today attend the launch in UCC of a PhD Research Scholars Programme, to be jointly run by UCC and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). The IITA, which is based in Nigeria and has programmes and projects across Africa, is one of a number of pro-poor agricultural research centres supported by Irish Aid.
Its focus is on improving agricultural productivity, strengthening livelihoods and reducing hunger in sub-Saharan Africa. IITA has a particularly strong reputation in translating research into agricultural projects on the ground.
The event will include the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding by Professor Patrick Fitzpatrick, Head of the College of Science, Engineering and Food Science of UCC and Dr Peter Hartmann, Director General of the IITA.
Announcing the launch, Minister Martin said:
“The current food crisis, with its effects on food security for the poorest, must be addressed in a systematic way, which includes addressing food productivity in Africa. Quality agricultural research plays a critical role in increasing and improving yields, enhancing nutrition and helping farmers adapt to the effects of climate change. This cooperation, which we are delighted to support, forms an element of Ireland’s response to the current global food price crisis.
Irish Aid has been pleased to support the important work of the
IITA over the past number of years and I am delighted that this
Research Scholars Programme is now being launched jointly with
Since 2005, Irish Aid has provided a total of almost €2 million in support to the IITA.
This Programme provides an excellent opportunity for UCC and IITA to share and exchange expertise and ultimately strengthen the research capacity of both institutions. Most important, however, is the potential of this collaboration to deliver real and tangible benefits to poor smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa.”
Note to editors:
The UCC-IITA PhD Research Scholars Programme will facilitate collaborative PhD-level training and research on agricultural research topics prioritised by IITA as key to improving the food security of the poor in Africa. Each student funded under the scheme will conduct 3-4 years of advanced-level agricultural research on crops, in IITA and UCC, leading to a PhD qualification.
The IITA is one of eight international agricultural research centres funded by Irish Aid. Established in 1967, it is based in Nigeria and has more than 100 international scientists based in research stations across Africa. Its research focuses on the staple crops of the poor – including cowpea, soybean, cassava and maize - and its goal is to enhance food security and improve the livelihoods of African smallholder farmers. Further information is available at www.iita.org.
2 September 2008