Searca launches research travel grant program

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The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (Searca) has set up a quarterly travel grant program that provides up to $1,200 to each qualified agriculture and agriculture-related professional and social scientist, including graduate students in Southeast Asia.

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The program is part of Searca’s development model called ISARD, or “inclusive and sustainable agricultural rural development,” aimed at improving the lives of marginal Southeast Asian farmers, Searca Director Gil C. Saguiguit Jr. said.

The deadline for applications for third quarter travel is on June 7 (for July to September travel). Applications for travel in the fourth quarter (October to December) will be accepted until Sept 7.

“Research findings and new knowledge should be used to benefit people. Beyond improving a nation’s GDP or GNP and balance of trade, development ought to enhance the food security, health, and quality of life of people, especially the poor and vulnerable groups,” Searca said in its grant guidelines.

The grant provides opportunities to qualified Southeast Asian nationals to present papers in scientific conferences locally and internationally.

Qualified to apply are those presenting scientific papers that will promote international partnerships. While priority is given to Searca constituents, staff members of non-profit development-oriented institutions or graduate students of agricultural universities in the region may also be given opportunities.

Applicants’ paper presentations should focus on Searca’s ISARD program:

1. Social inclusion in Agriculture and Rural Development—participation of poor farmers in upgrading to agribusiness systems; food and nutrition security for vulnerable groups; and innovations and technologies.

2. Sustainable agriculture—natural resource management, climate change mitigation and adaptation in agricultural-rural development; and resilience of agricultural systems to climate impacts.

3. Regional cooperation in trade and investments and market integration.
ISARD is part of Searca’s institutional strategy under its Tenth Five-Year Plan, and singles out vulnerable groups including women, indigenous people, and youth.

Programs under ISARD should strengthen entrepreneurship, value chains, and agribusiness systems to transform farms into businesses, Searca said. These should enhance innovation and technology use, help mitigate climate change through the use of climate smart agriculture, and manage natural resources, while contributing to improving government policies and regional cooperation in trade and investments.

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