Over the past few years, our UF Agroecology program has striven to build a global portfolio of partner institutions around the world, providing students with the opportunity to take part in diversified research. Indeed, some of the offerings within the program require that students participate in a 3-6 month research experience at an international institution to gain exposure to global agroecosystems. Currently, our ever growing network counts a total of 9 partners from Australia, Brazil, France, Israel, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the Virgin Islands with several new institutions in the process of joining in. Each of these institutions have unique strengths that interface well across multiple disciplines and therefore could provide excellent points of research and academic collaborations across UF/IFAS.
In an effort to strengthen and expand these partnerships, we will hold an International Agroecology Summit May 15 to 18, 2017. The visitors for this Summit will be representatives from most all of our existing partnerships, as well as some of our potential partners. The itinerary for them will begin in South Florida to include tours of some of our Research and Education Centers (REC) along the way to Gainesville: the Tropical REC in Homestead, the Everglades REC in Belle Glade, the Range Cattle REC in Ona, the Plant Science Research and Education Unit in Citra and will end up in Gainesville on Wednesday for a lunch with UF Provost Joseph Glover.
The morning on Thursday the 18th will be dedicated to an official institutional presentation: 12 UF departments will be showcasing their research and achievements and explore further collaboration opportunities with the international partners. This will also include talks by Kelly Racette and David Hensley, two graduate students who just came back from an International Agroecology Research Experience at one of our partner institution and who will share their experience and how it added value to their degree. An open discussion panel with IFAS administration, including UF/IFAS Senior Vice President Jack Payne, will take place in the afternoon.
This Summit will be the first of its kind UF Agroecology organizes, and its success will, hopefully, create new and exciting collaboration opportunities that will keep on making this program successful !