Through OVCRE's initiative, the talks between UPLB and Agreenium that began from an overseas official meeting in 2017 have moved forward to support UPLB's academic, research, and capacity building efforts.
Agreenium is a French public cooperation institute with a network of 15 higher education institutions and 4 research bodies.
The Institute gathers its members so they can share expertise and learn from one another. This promotes cooperation among them, increases their capacity for action, and enables them to build partnerships with universities, like UPLB.
The possible partnership between UPLB and Agreenium was first brought up during an overseas meeting led by Vice Chancellor for Research and Extension Dr. Rex Demafelis and team composed of aProf Pamela Eleazar, Bea Tongko-Magadia, and Anthony Obligado, in December 2017 with AgroParis Tech, a French university who is also a member of Agreenium.
During that time, UPLB and AgroParis Tech were discussing matters related to Life Cycle Assessment and potential collaboration on academic and research collaborations. AgroParis Tech then introduced a possible partnership with Agreenium.
Seeing an opportunity from Agreenium, a delegation from UPLB composed of Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez Jr, Vice Chancellor Rex B.Demafelis, Vice Chancellor Portia G. Lapitan, and EnP Maria Rowena Beatriz Q. Inzon, went to France in October 2018.
UPLB was able to enter a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Agreenium during the visit. Both parties agreed to undertake academic and research collaborations and capacity building, such as student and staff exchange; collaborative research projects; and promotion of mutual academic cooperation.
In honor of the MoU, Mr. Donald A. Luna, a research associate from the Institute of Biological Sciences, has been given the opportunity of getting a Phil-France scholarship to pursue his doctorate degree in Environmental Science - Ecology in UMR Ecosystème Prairial, a research unit attached to INRA Science & Impact, which is Europe's top agricultural research institute and also a member of Agreenium. This is one of several scholarships that UPLB can avail along with travel support, as a result of the MoU.
The UPLB delegation's visit in Europe proved to be further productive as the talks continue this year.
Ms. Lynda lhadjadene and Mr. Didier Pillot, representatives from Agreenium and Montpellier SupAgro, met with Vice Chancellor Demafelis and Vice Chancellor Lapitan on 31 July 2019 at OVCRE's main office to discuss specific activities based on the initial MoU.
After the meeting, the MoU signed last year will give birth to another Memorandum of Agreement (MoA), which will be more specific and include provisions on dual degree opportunities for UPLB and Montpellier SupAgro constituents.
This means that faculty staff, researchers, and even students can receive double masters or doctorate degrees, from UPLB and a partner university in France. Initial priority courses include the fields of Environmental Science, Agricultural Economics, and Agronomy. Food Science, Forestry, and other fields will also be offered in the future.