Mayagüez, Puerto Rico – As Puerto Rico finds itself in the midst of furthering its role in the knowledge economy on a large scale, the Puerto Rico Agricultural Biotechnology Industry Association (PRABIA) and the Mayagüez campus of the University of Puerto Rico (Rum, its Spanish acronym) today signed a historic collaboration agreement that will benefit the agronomists that graduate each year.
The agricultural biotechnology industry contributes to the economic growth of Puerto Ricans and employs a large number of agronomy graduates from RUM. The objective of this agreement is to further education and research in the agricultural biotechnology industry through initiatives that include the strengthening of academic curricula, the development of innovative technologies, and the hosting of conferences, symposiums, workshops, internships, and more.
“The development of the agricultural biotechnology industry is key to the planet’s present and future because it includes matters of vital importance, such as food security and production, health and nutrition, and famine in an ever-growing world. Puerto Rico plays a key role in these matters, and through this agreement we seek to combine efforts and increase knowledge in these areas by way of education and research. With the knowledge that RUM fosters and PRABIA’s focus, we are confident that this will be a successful endeavor,” said Beatriz Carrión, executive director of PRABIA.
For his part, Dr. John Fernández Van Cleve, rector of the RUM, stated that “As an educational institution, part of our mission is to establish ties with the industry that grants our students access to state-of-the-art processes and technologies. This is especially so in matters related to agriculture, which are of great relevance to the development of our country. This alliance will allow us to reinforce initiatives in the area of agricultural biotechnology and will open doors to new fields of research,” said Dr. Fernández Van Cleve.
Part of the agreement between PRABIA and RUM features efforts such as the participation of both parties as expert advisers in professional and academic committees; the development of updated curricula for courses offered at the College of Agricultural Sciences, incorporating new trends in the field; AgBio workshops for students and faculty; student access to the facilities of PRABIA member companies for research purposes; the development of a PRABIA scholarship program; the recruitment of students for employment at PRABIA member companies; internship programs, and more.
Carrión also noted that the agreement allows the world-class students and faculty at RUM to fully develop their potential and talents, contributing new ideas and knowledge. “We are supporting education and investing in the future, given the importance of agricultural biotechnology in the production of food on a global scale,” she added.
Founded in 1995, PRABIA is a nonprofit organization that gathers the main agricultural biotechnology companies that operate in Puerto Rico – AgReliant Genetics, Bayer, Dow AgroSciences, Syngenta, Illinois Crop Improvement, Monsanto del Caribe and DuPont Pioneer. The objective of the Association is to strengthen the agricultural biotechnology ecosystem on the Island in the face of global food production challenges. The operations of the PRABIA member companies promote economic development by creating about 5,000 direct and indirect employment opportunities, foster education, support communities, strengthen the academic community, and establish programs aimed at future scientists and agronomists.