UNL wins USDA grant for Ethiopian partnership

jbrehm2, August 15, 2011 | View original publication

UNL wins USDA grant for Ethiopian partnership

A U.S. Department of Agriculture International Science and Education grant will help strengthen the global competitiveness of UNL faculty and students through international research and education by using a newly established partnership between UNL and two Ethiopian universities.

An interdisciplinary team from UNL, comprising faculty from the Department of Anthropology in the College of Arts and Sciences and faculty from the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, was awarded $149,579 for the project.

"This UNL team was able to leverage their multidisciplinary expertise in agricultural and social sciences and their experience conducting international research to win this competitive grant from USDA to address important challenges associated with food security in Ethiopia," said Susan Fritz, associate IANR vice chancellor, and interim dean of UNL's Agricultural Research Division.

One of the goals of the project is to increase opportunities for undergraduate students to participate in international research at a low cost alongside UNL faculty.

This new global perspective, as well as cross-cultural skills and experiences, will prepare students for pursuing postgraduate training, solving complex agricultural and societal problems and competing in the international job market.

"It's all about TEF: Internationalizing Teaching, Extension and Farming Research in Ethiopia" will complete four specific objectives:

– develop a study-abroad program to enhance the international experience, knowledge and skill of UNL undergraduate students and provide long-term international research opportunities for graduate students in Ethiopia;

– create a new multi-disciplinary seminar course, "Food Security from a Global Perspective," for upper-division undergraduates and graduate students;

– revise the content of three existing courses at UNL to incorporate new international case studies and research findings; and

– strengthen the capabilities of UNL faculty, students and extension personnel to conduct multi-disciplinary, collaborative research with Ethiopian partners and disseminate international research findings and teaching experiences to students, peers and stakeholders through workshops, academic conference presentations and journal articles.

"It's all about TEF" also will enable UNL faculty from multiple disciplines to conduct collaborative research in an international setting, which maximizes UNL faculty resources and areas of expertise and creates new international partnerships for education, research and extension.

The project will be conducted through UNL's College of Arts and Sciences and the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.