The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) has been involved in collaborative research and teaching projects in Brazil for many years. For example, cooperative research projects on dairy nutrition have been conducted since the 1990s (UD’s Kung teaches silage to Brazilian professors, students); more recently undergraduate Study Abroad programs have focused on sustainable landscape design (Study Abroad in Brazil). These interactions have been highly productive, strengthened our faculty research programs, and provided invaluable educational experiences for our students.
In 2009, new collaborations began in Brazil that focused in plant science, particularly in the area of plant pathology. These faculty and graduate student exchanges were primarily with the Federal University of Lavras (UFLA), located on a 600-acre campus in the south of the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. UFLA is one of Brazil’s major national research agricultural universities and is composed of 16 departments (Agronomy, Agricultural Engineering, Medicine Veterinary, Biology, Exact Sciences, Computer Science, Animal Science, Chemistry, Food Engineering, Science of Soils, Science of Forest, Entomology, Phytopathology, Physical Education and Business Management). A number of faculty and student exchange visits and UD-UFLA planning meeting were subsequently conducted, beginning in 2009 (CANR strengthens Brazilian partnership through research exchange; Food or fuel – UFLA’s Sugano speaks to UD community about Brazilian agriculture), leading to interest in a broader, more formal partnership with UFLA.
Consequently, in 2009, the Presidents of UD and UFLA signed a General Agreement to foster long-term collaborations in research, teaching, and extension. A wide range of activities have occurred since that time, including faculty exchanges, UFLA Ph.D. students engaging in research with UD faculty, UFLA undergraduate students attending UD for up to a year with the funding support of the Brazilian “Science Without Borders” international scholarship program and a USDA International Science Education Grant awarded to a UD-UFLA team focused on issues related to agriculture and the environment in Brazil (Brazilian partnership –UD, Federal University of Lavras conduct agricultural research; Brazil spring break – Professors, students travel to UFLA; interns selected for collaborative work; Brazilian collaboration –UD grad student sets up collaborative research with Brazil’s UFLA; Brazil Science Without Borders – UD hosts Brazilian students from Science Without Borders).