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Virtual research workshop unites SUSADICA team, advisory board and partners from east to west

18 November 2020 - Fully online for the first time, the "Structured Doctoral Programme on Sustainable Agricultural Development in Central Asia" (SUSADICA) held a two-day research workshop from 5-6 November. The event brought together SUSADICA PhD students, supervisors, representatives of the advisory board and the funding agency, and other interested stakeholders.

Prof. Dr. Martin Petrick, the SUSADICA project leader from Justus-Liebig University Giessen (JLU) and a IAMO Visiting Research Fellow, and Prof. Dr. Abdulkhakim Salokhiddinov of the main project partner Tashkent Institute of Irrigation and Agricultural Mechanization Engineers (TIIAME) in Uzbekistan launched the workshop. Professor Petrick highlighted the project activities in 2020. The year had started with a first research workshop in Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO), Halle, which had been planned to be the only event of this sort for the current year. However, the Covid-19 pandemic became a catalyst for new initiatives giving a surge to online transmission of knowledge. Guided by senior researcher and project coordinator Dr. Nozilakhon Mukhamedova, SUSADICA team members produced several videos about using tools and tips on teaching online, sharing information through cloud options, and published a series of interviews with lecturers and students.

Despite the pandemic has restrained travels and fieldwork for the SUSADICA team, the research projects continued with many new insights into theory, methods, tools and secondary data analysis.

The SUSADICA doctoral programme receives funding from the Volkswagen Foundation under the programme Between Europe and the Orient – A Focus on Research and Higher Education in/on Central Asia and the Caucasus and the Uzbek Ministries of Higher Education and Innovative Development. Dr. Matthias Nöllenburg, representative of the Volkswagen Foundation, welcomed the active response of the SUSADICA team in the face of the pandemic and reiterated his strong commitment to the project.

SUSADICA students presented their work in progress, outlook for the coming year and obtained feedback and questions from the participants. The workshop went on to identify synergies among PhD projects, data collection & fieldwork plans for 2021 and prepared the ground for a continuing productive collaboration with Tashkent Institute of Irrigation and Agricultural Mechanization Engineers (TIIAME) in Uzbekistan, the main partner of SUSADICA in Central Asia

SUSADICA aims at conducting cutting edge research at international standards on the topics of regional and international relevance, strengthening graduate education in the field of agricultural development in Central Asia and contributing to the academic environment in TIIAME. Ten doctoral students funded by the programme spend half of each project year in Germany at three partner institutions (IAMO, JLU and MLU) and the other half at TIIAME in Uzbekistan. The PhD research topics cover issues of farm restructuring, agricultural innovation and technology, crop diversification, agricultural policy, environmental change and water governance in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.