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IAMO contributes to structured education and training of PhD students in Central Asia

30 August 2019 - Within the SUSADICA doctoral programme, IAMO researchers Dr. Nodir Djanibekov and Dr. Golib Sanaev conducted a five-day PhD module course on economics of technology adoption in agriculture from 29 July to 2 August 2019. The course took place in the Innovations and Scientific Research Cluster at the Tashkent Institute of Irrigation and Agricultural Mechanization Engineers (TIIAME), Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

The need to adopt drip irrigation systems, to end the cotton harvest mechanization paradox, and to introduce soil conservation in Uzbek agriculture has been outspoken by researchers and policymakers. Among the questions are: What are the main sources of such technical change? Which technology among alternative ones would farmers prefer? Why inferior and less friendly technologies and methods still dominate, while better alternatives fail? What structural changes can technology ignite? The course took stock of the ongoing debates on how to modernize and innovate agricultural production in Central Asia. The course schedule comprised the topics of induced technical change, theoretical and empirical aspects of choice experiments with regard to agricultural technology adoption, as well as technology lock-in and treadmill. This combination of theories was chosen to equip the participants with skills for studying technology adoption in agriculture, expanding research idea frontiers, analyzing the interactions between technology and society to identify relevant policy options for sustainable agricultural development.

The course participants were 17 PhD students currently registered in research institutes and universities of Uzbekistan, as well as PhD students of the “Structured doctoral programme on Sustainable Agricultural Development in Central Asia” (SUSADICA) implemented in the Tashkent Institute of Irrigation and Agricultural Mechanization Engineers (TIIAME) by IAMO jointly with Justus Liebig University Gießen, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Regional Environmental Centre for Central Asia (CAREC) and a network of international partners. Discussions went along technologies such as cotton combines, drip irrigation system, zero tillage, high-yielding varieties, as well as institutional innovations and policies to increase agricultural output. The afternoon of Day 4 was dedicated to a discussion seminar where the course instructors, Dr. Nodir Djanibekov and Dr. Golib Sanaev, the SUSADICA coordinator, Dr. Nozila Mukhamedova, and PhD students and lecturers shared and discussed own experiences of conducting research and writing PhD dissertations. As it was pointed the current system of PhD research in Uzbekistan, which still inherits the tradition of coordination and reporting from the Soviet system, has resulted in increasing number of publications in predatory journals, shady business of academic ghostwriting, broken research ethics - all hindering the development of science and widening the gap between international and local research standards.

The PhD module course was organized in the framework of the SUSADICA doctoral programme which aims at establishing structured education and training of the doctoral students to enable them to conduct independent research in Central Asia. The first module course took place on 17 to 21 June 2019 and was provided by Prof. Dr. Richard Pomfret from the University of Adelaide, Australia, who taught the concepts of studying the economic development of Central Asian countries covering the questions of economic development and regional integration.

The next PhD module course will be organized from 16 to 20 September 2019 by Prof. Dr. Martin Petrick, the programme coordinator from Justus Liebig University Gießen and a visiting researcher at IAMO, who will teach the concepts for studying institutional change in agriculture.