Published on 05/18/15

CAES faculty ready themselves for a summer of international travel

By Merritt Melancon

In an effort to increase international collaboration on research and outreach projects, the Office of Global Programs at the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences has awarded its 2015 international travel grants for college faculty.

The awards, totaling $20,000, were given to faculty whose work is aimed at developing and sustaining global partnerships. For some awardees, this means traveling to do field research, and for others it means attending conferences or laying the groundwork for future collaboration.

However they choose to work while abroad, the relationships that these CAES faculty members forge in other countries help to boost the reputation of the college and UGA as international leaders in the life sciences.

“Global citations are the single most important indicator that increases international profile and university rankings,” said Amrit Bart, assistant dean and director of the CAES Office of Global Programs. “There is increasing evidence that publication with international partners results in increased global citations.”

“Small investments in these collaboration-seeking faculty travel grants is not only good for the aspiring faculty member, our college and the university, but also builds lasting institutional relationships that facilitate study abroad, exchanges and academic collaborations.”

This years awardees include:

  • Romdhane Rekaya, of the Department of Animal and Dairy Science, and Sammy Aggrey, of the Department of Poultry Science, will travel to Nairobi, Kenya, to lead an animal and poultry genetics course.
  • Dario Chavez, of the Department of Horticulture, will travel to Zamorano, a university in Honduras, to build the groundwork for future joint research and education projects.
  • Keith Douce, of the Department of Entomology and director of the UGA Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health, will travel to Hungary, Italy and Great Britain to meet with European scientists studying invasive species.
  • Nicholas Magnan, of the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, will travel to Ghana to develop the groundwork for future research into peanut value chains and to teach local peanut buyers and farmers to test for aflatoxin.
  • David Radcliffe and Aaron Thompson, both of the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, will travel to the University of Padova, in Italy, to help develop a future, dual-graduate degree program in sustainable agriculture.
  • Matthew Chappell, of the Department of Horticulture, will travel to Spain to work with a company that has developed software to allow researchers and farmers to conduct long-term environmental assessments, which he plans to use for several projects.
  • Yen-Con Hung, of the Department of Food Science and Technology, will travel to Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University and the Shanghai Academy of Agricultural Sciences, both in China, to work with Chinese researchers on techniques for improving the safety of fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • George Vellidis, of the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, will travel to Israel to present to the European Conference on Precision Agriculture and to the International Workshop on Innovations in Agricultural Robotics for Precision Agriculture. He will also be meeting with colleagues from the TransAtlantic Precision Agriculture Consortium.
  • Phil Brannen, of the Department of Plant Pathology, will travel to the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Piacenza, Italy, to develop collaborative efforts in disease control of wine grapes and explore possible internship opportunities for undergraduate students.

For more information on the CAES faculty travel grant process or the CAES Office of Global Programs, visit

Merritt Melancon is a public relations manager with UGA's Terry College of Business and previously served as a public relations coordinator for the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and UGA Extension.