By John Lee.
Wageningen University and Research (WUR) will support six Iraqi universities to develop climate-smart agriculture and efficient water management in Iraq.
Together with the Institute for Water Education (IHE) in Delft and ICRA Global, Wageningen researchers will train academic staff and develop knowledge transfer facilities.
Iraq is one of the focus countries of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. For that reason, the Ministry asked WUR to explore the opportunities for cooperation in Iraq in 2018. Last year, an high-level Iraqi delegation visited Wageningen to discuss the collaboration. The two-year project will address several issues.
First, the Dutch participants will try to modernize the outdated teaching styles at the Iraqi universities by incorporating group work and practical work in their curriculum.
Secondly, the project wants to organize joint research programs at the six universities. Each of these universities will send a scientist to Wageningen to write a joint research article about water management and climate-smart agriculture in Iraq.
The participants may also develop massive open online courses (mooc’s) to implement knowledge transfer to other universities and development partners.
Iraq is recovering from the war against IS. Some universities were damaged, some others face a challenge to collaborate with farmers to combat water shortage or salinity problems in agriculture. For security reasons, the training will be held in The Netherlands and project partners will meet in the safe Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
Karrar Mahdi, an Iraqi scientist at the Soil Physics and Land Use Planning group in Wageningen, will coordinate the project. The project has received a budget of 1,3 million euros. One-third of that budget will be spent at WUR to give scientific and educational assistance.