The BRT is pleased to announce the development of its new initiative, the Agri Policy Lab. To get more insight into the development of this exciting new initiative, we interviewed Assoc. Prof. Dr. Hynek Roubík who is an expert in organic waste management and sustainable technologies, the leader of the Biogas Research Team (BRT) at the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague (CZU), an agriculture enthusiast with a passion for his work and the second-youngest member of the Czech Academy of Agricultural Sciences and Bioeconomy platform of the Czech Republic. He does research, especially in Waste Management, Environmental and Ecological Engineering and is an editorial board member of several journals. He is also the author of over 100 peer-reviewed (indexed) research papers and was appointed one of Czechia's youngest associate professors.
Enjoy reading the interview conducted by our Communications Manager, Dr. Stacy Hammond.
Dr. Hammond: First, could you share the inspiration behind establishing the Agri Policy Lab with our readers?
Assoc. Prof. Roubík: The inspiration behind the Agri Policy Lab is rooted in the realization that the agricultural sector plays a pivotal role in addressing global challenges such as food security, climate change, and sustainable development. We saw a need for a dedicated unit that could bridge the gap between research, policy, and stakeholder engagement, driving evidence-based decisions to improve our agricultural practices. We have much experience from policy work in the Global South and Europe. Now, I believe it is an excellent time to put all those experiences in place and utilise them.
Dr. Hammond: Can you elaborate on the unique role of the Agri Policy Lab in advancing sustainable agricultural development?
Assoc. Prof. Roubík: Certainly. The Agri Policy Lab is designed to be a dynamic and multidisciplinary hub integrating rigorous research, stakeholder engagement, and policy advocacy. And that means both in the Global South and Global North. Our goal is not just to analyse policies but to actively contribute to their development and implementation. By enhancing collaboration and gathering diverse perspectives, we aim to ensure that policies are not only effective but also inclusive and sustainable.
Dr. Hammond: What specific activities can we expect from the Agri Policy Lab in achieving its mission?
Assoc. Prof. Roubík: The activities of the Agri Policy Lab are diverse, reflecting our commitment to a holistic approach. We will conduct in-depth research on current agricultural policies, analyse global best practices, and actively engage with stakeholders through discussions and workshops. Additionally, we will play a crucial role in capacity building by organizing training programs for policymakers, government officials, and farmers. We will develop policy recommendations based on research findings and advocate for evidence-based decision-making.
Dr. Hammond: How do you envision the Agri Policy Lab contributing to the global conversation on sustainable agriculture?
Assoc. Prof. Roubík: Our vision is to position the Agri Policy Lab as a thought leader in the global discourse on sustainable agriculture. By evaluating the impact of policies over time and sharing our findings through reports and publications, we aim to contribute valuable insights to the international community. Collaborating with stakeholders globally and participating in international initiatives will allow us to share best practices and learn from others, creating a network for positive change.
Dr. Hammond: Can you introduce the key members of Agri Policy Lab and what each brings to the table?
Assoc. Prof. Roubík: Certainly. The Agri Policy Lab is fortunate to have a dedicated team that consists of Ing. et Mgr. Adam Hruška, who brings expertise in food security and policy analysis. MSc. Chama Theodore Ketuama, whose background in sustainable development and bioenergy, adds a valuable dimension to our team. We also have Assoc. Prof. Stella Tsani, who is a highly experienced policy expert from Greece. She is working at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. However, she will be acting as an external member of the Agri Policy Lab.
Together, we form a collaborative and diverse team with a shared passion for sustainable agriculture.
Dr. Hammond: Finally, what message would you like to convey to the public and policymakers regarding the Agri Policy Lab?
Assoc. Prof. Roubík: I would like to say that the Agri Policy Lab is not just an academic hub; it is a call to action. We invite policymakers, researchers, farmers, and all stakeholders to reach out to us, especially towards evidence-based, inclusive, and sustainable agricultural policies. The challenges we face require collective efforts, and the Agri Policy Lab is committed to being a catalyst for positive change. Together, we can shape a future where our agricultural practices align with the needs of the present and the aspirations of the future.
Dr. Hammond: Thank you, Dr. Roubík, for sharing your insights. We look forward to witnessing the impactful contributions of the Agri Policy Lab at the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague.
Assoc. Prof. Roubík: Thank you. The journey has just begun, and we are excited about the possibilities that lie ahead, as the sky is the limit. As the motto of the Biogas Research Team says: “Fearless minds, endless potential.”
To all our readers and audience – Thank you for your interest in our interview. We invite you to stay tuned for updates on the work of our newly established Agri Policy Lab!
Want to join Agri Policy Lab or cooperate with us? Let us know!