University of the Philippines Los Baños
Monday, 26 March 2018 10:36

UPLB, 4 ASEAN universities to jointly offer MS in food security and climate change

MS FSCC workshop

The Erasmus Mundus brand of graduate education where multiple universities collaborate to produce high-caliber professionals is going to be the model for UPLB and four ASEAN universities to offer Master of Science in Food Security and Climate Change (MS FSCC).

This unfolded as delegates from UPLB and four other members of the Southeast Asian University Consortium for Graduate Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources or University Consortium (UC), namely: Kasetsart University (KU) in Thailand, Universiti Putra Malaysia, and Institut Pertanian Bogor and Universitas Gadjah Mada in Indonesia converged in UPLB to hold a workshop to develop the MS FSCC program.

The UC representatives sat down for a workshop on March 19-22 to plan the MS FSCC’s courses, curriculum, timetable, and research topics. The MS FSCC, funded by the European Commission’s ERASMUS + Capacity Building for Higher Education, is patterned after the European academic consortium’s programs.

During the workshop’s opening program on Mar. 19 at the REDREC Auditorium, UPLB Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr. conveyed his confidence that the collective effort of the participating universities and organizations will pave the way for the MS FSCC students to carry out sterling work and evoke positive change in the Regions’ agricultural and rural development.

MS FSCC, which is being led by KU, aims to produce graduates who are equipped for the challenges of food security in the context of climate change. Its students will be mobilized within the UC and enrolled in two universities. They will be jointly supervised by these universities and have a joint thesis defense. The program also opens opportunities for students to study in EU partner organizations and for EU students to study in UC member universities.

According to Dr. Didier Pillot of Montpellier SupAgro, project coordinator for EU, and Dr. Nuttakan Nitayapat, assistant professor at KU, MS FSCC graduates are expected to contribute to three main domains of food security and climate change studies. These are policy and governance, technical research and instruction, and extension, development support, and field projects management.

Currently, the MS FSCC uses existing programs of its member universities. It has 17 enrolled students.

The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), one of the program’s official partner organizations in ASEAN, provides academic grants for and serves as the secretariat of the MS FSCC. (Jessa Jael S. Arana)