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Panel discussions with leading experts of Wageningen University (the Netherlands) were held with support of company «Innopraktika» (National Intellectual Development)

Dr. Cor Langeveld, Academic Counselor and Education Coordinator on Organic Agriculture at WUR focused on the prospects of cooperation with Russian agricultural universities. In Dr Langeweld’s opinion, interrelations should be structured in stages, starting with the comparison of learning approaches and continuing with the visits of the teaching staff, including the involvement of Russian students in the realization of their scientific projects at WUR. In the future, WUR experts are ready to introduce elements of their master’s programmes into the educational process in Russian universities. At WUR the education process on organic agriculture lasts two years and has the specific features - interdisciplinary approach, student-driven group projects (such as building high-tech greenhouses from the beginning) and strengthening the links between academic science and buseness.

Antoine Faure, Expert on Ecology, company “Ecocert”, informed about the retraining and professional training programmes for the specialist in the sphere of organic market. Company “Ecocert” focuses its activities on helping to the companies penetrating the international markets, as well as consulting national governments. Antoine Faure gave examples of successful cases: supporting the Ministry of Agriculture of Algeria on meeting local national standards on organic agriculture with international legislation, and helping Madagascar farmers to adopt practices of organic agriculture that could help to export goods to the US and the EU. Company “Ecocert” also is being involved in the development of educational programs of the Institute for Agricultural Studies of Higher School of Economics.

Commenting the reports of Dr. Cor Langeveld and Antoine Faure, Head of the Department of Agro-Biotechnology Development, company «Innopraktika» Vladimir Avdeenko noted that the training of specialists in the field of organic agriculture is actively developing in Russia and the company takes significant part in this process.

«In the field of training on organic agriculture company «Innopraktika» implements three main directions. The first direction is activity in the sphere of higher education. We’re running the project to develop the frame programs for agricultural universities as these universities can be the main guide in organic science. The first program was developed for Voronezh State Agricultural University (VSAU). Experts from WUR also participated in its developmant. The second direction is the development of educational programmes for different target groups, which we carry out in cooperation with various departments and scientific centers – NCO “Roskachestvo”, Institute for Agrarian Studies of Higher School of Economics, VSAU. And the third direction is the pre-university training for scholars to acquaint them with the most advanced agricultural technologies», - told Vladimir Avdeenko.

Dr. Maurits Burgering, Senior Business Development Manager and Program Director TTT-CT & KTO Manager of WUR described the university’s experience on various stages of knowledge valorization, technology transfer and innovation financing.

«A well-designed ecosystem plays a central role in creating the adding value. The ecosystem of our university consists of four components. At first, it is cooperation with business representatives. Companies like “Campina”, “Unilever”, and many others are doing researches together with our experts right on WUR campus. The second component is the creation of good infrastructure for such researches. The third is the training of society and the fourth is the transfer of technology. Therefore, the ecosystem is functionig far beyond the university’s campus. We focus also on designing the systems that could eliminate the gap between fundamental researches and their commercialization. We follow such scheme to work with innovation: first of all, we analyze the fundamental research and test the possibilities of its implementation, then we develop and evaluate the prototype, and explore the possibilities for its production. And the final stage - the introduction», - told Dr. Maurits Burgering.

Dr. Burgering  gave also some general recommendations regarding the preparation of projects for commercialization, among them – development of policy for the transfer of knowledge and expertise, focus on strategic research topics, and allocation of subsidies in favor of achievable projects.

Dr. Vanya Simeonova van der Grift, Senior advisor on European Research Programmes & Funding in environment, regional and rural sustainability and in the same time Manager of  Eastern Europe IRO at WUR,  continued the topic of project financing, initiated by Dr. Burgering.

«At present time WUR is implementing 243 new projects and monitoring more than 40 projects. Among the projects, approximately 22% are considered to be successful. It is the highest percentage in the European Union», - was emphasized by expert.) 

According to the expert’s opinion, such a large number of successful projects are related with the cluster approaches in their implementation. WUR has developed several methodic of such approaches, such as the model «Tripe Helix» aimed to interactions between government, business and university, and the project «Food Valley», which offers platform of resources and opportunities for the innovation development and transfer.

Participants also discussed actual issues of staff training for Russian organic agriculture and exchanged with experiences in the financing of projects developed by leading agricultural universities and large agribusiness. 

Video of the panel discussions on web-site of the Russian Agricultural Exhibition "Golden Autumn-2020".