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Plant genetic resources for climate change adaptation – new MSc course

Dry terrace in Sri Lanka. Credit: Bioversity International/S. Landersz

A new MSc course in Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security includes lectures contributed by Bioversity International scientist, Danny Hunter, on the importance of agricultural biodiversity and genetic resources in coping with climate change.

A new MSc course in Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security includes lectures contributed by Bioversity International scientist, Danny Hunter, on the importance of agricultural biodiversity and genetic resources in coping with climate change.

By Ewa Hermanowicz

The Plant and AgriBiosciences Research Centre (PABC) has launched a one-year MSc degree course in Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (MSc CCAFS) at the National University of Ireland, Galway. The course was developed in collaboration with the CGIAR Programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), for students who wish to combine scientific, engineering, technical, social and policy skills. It equips students with knowledge to understand and make significant contributions regarding adaptation and mitigation of climate change which is posing major challenges to agricultural systems and food security worldwide.

Offered for the first time in 2014, by an international and inter-disciplinary course faculty of lecturers and experts, a new cohort of students is now invited to apply for this year’s edition which will start in September 2015.

Danny Hunter, Senior Scientist, Bioversity International and Adjunct Lecturer and PABC Member at NUI Galway, who recently contributed a series of lectures for the course on the importance of agricultural biodiversity and the roles of genetic resources in coping with climate change commented that “the course provides a great opportunity for students to learn about the importance of mainstreaming agricultural biodiversity into global and national planning and policy processes in the climate change arena such as National Adaptation Programmes of Action.” He also sees an opportunity to integrate more research outputs on biodiversity and nutrition in the course as it moves forward thus directly contributing to the CCAFS research uptake by the future generation of scientists and leaders.

Bioversity International has a long experience of capacity strengthening at the higher education level by producing curriculum development guides and training materials as well as supervising research fellows, MSc and PhD students.

Professor Charlie Spillane, Head of the PABC, points out that “the new course offers unique opportunities for engagement of Bioversity International scientists and staff in training of MSc CCAFS students, including via video conference linkages, as well as co-development of training and educational materials and the development of research internship programmes for students on Bioversity International projects and programmes. We can also build on this to co-leverage support for PhD students to engage within ongoing Bioversity International research projects and programmes that also link to ongoing work in the PABC.”

The Plant and Agricultural Biosciences Centre at the NUI Galway is composed of inter-disciplinary researchers, research groups, companies and institutions sharing a common interest in fostering and promoting plant and agricultural biosciences innovation and boasts considerable research outputs. According to Professor Spillane, “Since 2009, the NUI Galway based members of PABC have leveraged over €35 million in competitive research grant income involving 100 PhD students and generating over 600 peer-reviewed scientific papers on plant and agri-related innovations.”

For the course outline and more detailed information, click here.

For more information, contact Danny Hunter. 

The programme was developed in collaboration with the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS)

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