Published on 03/17/15

New OGP Travel Fund Sends Faculty To Brazil, Vietnam and New Zealand

By Denise Horton

Three CAES faculty members have been awarded funding from the first-round of the newly launched Office of Global Programs Faculty International Travel Funding Program. However, a second round is already under way; the deadline for applying is April 1.

Darold Batzer, professor of entomology, Wojciech J. Florkowski, professor of agricultural and applied economics, and Dennis Hancock, associate professor and a forage specialist with Cooperative Extension received funding for travel to Brazil, Vietnam, and New Zealand, respectively.

The funding program supports the development of sustained collaborative global partnerships. Priority is given to proposals that aim to secure external funding for collaborative programs or projects; demonstrate a high potential to develop long-lasting partnerships; and indicate cost-sharing by the applicant or department. Awards are allocated based on the availability of funds, but are generally about $2,000 each.

Batzer’s early March trip to Brazil focused on developing collaborations with researchers at the Laboratory of the Ecology and Conservation of Aquatic Ecosystems at the University of Vale do Rio dos Sinos. Batzer’s area of interest is the use of invertebrates to provide a research basis for addressing environmental problems in wetlands and other aquatic habitats.

“Both here and in Brazil, wetland habitats are increasingly being threatened by human development and a changing climate,” Batzer said in his funding application, noting that he planned to evaluate research facilities and field sites during his stay.

Based on the trip’s outcome, Batzer plans to develop funding proposals with his Brazilian colleagues for that country’s “Science Without Borders” program.

In December 2014, Florkowski delivered the keynote address and continued his economic and marketing research in postharvest handling of agricultural commodities at the annual Asian Pacific Symposium on Postharvest Research, Education and Extension in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The event was organized by the Vietnam Institute of Agricultural Engineering and Postharvest Technology and Nong Lam University.

During his stay, Florkowski met with researchers from Asia, Australia and Europe who are involved in postharvest research. He also began discussions about renewing a memorandum of agreement with King Mongut’s University of Technology Thonburi in Thailand, a co-organizer of the conference.

“The presence of a number of scientists and administrators from Asia, including Vietnam, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia permits the exploration and discussion of future collaborative research projects using funding of the interested parties,” Florkowski noted.

Hancock will travel to New Zealand in late March as an advisor to a meeting of the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise ministry. The meeting, which will include the leaders of a number of New Zealand’s agritech companies, will focus on plans for establishing an “innovation park” somewhere in the U.S., possibly Georgia.

“Georgia has developed quite a reputation throughout the world as a real ‘hot-spot’ for growth in pasture-based livestock systems and dairying,” Hancock said. “This is Georgia’s opportunity to impress upon them the profound logic of locating their offices, warehouses, supply chains, parts, service systems and, perhaps, even some manufacturing operations here in Georgia.”

During his trip, Hancock will provide industry leaders information on the technical aspects of the U.S. market and what niches are currently not being filled by domestic companies.

For more information, visit the Office of Global Programs Faculty Travel Funding webpage.

Denise Horton is the public relations coordinator for the University of Georgia College of Family and Consumer Sciences.

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