Trans-Atlantic Cultivation

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CAES and University of Padova Create Dual Master's Degree Program

To promote collaboration on the global challenges facing agriculture, the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences is partnering with the University of Padova in Italy for a dual master’s degree program in sustainable agriculture.

Administrators and faculty from the University of Padova and the University of Georgia met in spring 2016 in Padova in northern Italy to create the dual-degree program. The first students enrolled this fall, and the first UGA participant will move to Padova in May 2017.

The University of Padova – the top-ranked agricultural university in Italy – and UGA are leaders in precision and sustainable agriculture.

“This innovative program will not only provide UGA graduate students with outstanding training, it will also provide them with a unique opportunity to learn about the challenges, opportunities and leading edges of their field on another continent,” said Suzanne Barbour, dean of the UGA Graduate School. “This experience will serve our students well when they enter the job market in our increasingly global economy.”

The dual-degree program, housed in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, is the first of its kind at CAES.

The challenges facing agriculture in the 21st century are global and won’t be solved by scientists from a single country or continent, said George Vellidis, UGA professor of crop and soil sciences, who spearheaded the effort to develop the program.

“When agriculturalists from across the globe work together, we can better solve the constant problems that emerge and threaten food production and food security,” he said. “The dual degree is beneficial because it will train them in sustainable agriculture and global competence, a valuable portfolio in a globalized economy.”

The dual degree is the maturation of a 12-year partnership between UGA, the University of Padova and four other European and U.S. universities. These schools formed the TransAtlantic Precision Agriculture Consortium in 2004. To date, 45 undergraduates and eight graduate students have participated in the program.

“The dual degree is one of the important outcomes of a relationship cultivated over a decade between UGA and the University of Padova,” said Amrit Bart, director of the college’s Office of Global Programs. “Building and sustaining international partnerships such as this takes the backing of both universities and their stakeholders. While other universities and programs are talking and thinking about dual-degree programs, our college and our faculty are proudly making it happen.”