Strengthening ties between CZU and HUAF

International Credit Mobility under Erasmus + project yielded new strategic collaborations.

The 15-year cooperation between the Faculty of Tropical AgriSciences CZU in Prague and the University of Agriculture and Forestry in Hue, Vietnam was newly expanded by taking on board the staff members of the Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences on a recent visit to Vietnam.

The history of collaboration between the FTA and HUAF dates back more than a decade ago with the initial student and staff exchanges that developed into research and science capacity building. Later, several sustainable development projects were started, and joint articles published. Cooperation was further strengthened especially by the Biogas Research Team (BRT) from CZU. Most recently, the FTA communication officer Klára Jiřičná shared best practices in communication strategies.

FTA has been successfully granted within International Credit Mobility Erasmus + in calls of 2019 and 2020. The travel restrictions linked with Covid-19 affected the mobility being mostly realized in Q2/2022. Seven more mobilities will be realized within coming months.

In May, CZU hosted three HUAF visitors: Prof. Le Dinh Phung, a specialist on livestock production and environment, and the HUAF vice-rector; Prof. Dang Hoa Tran, former dean of the Faculty of Agronomy, an expert on climate change mitigation, and Prof. Dinh Van Dung, who teaches and researches ruminants nutrition, and greenhouse gas emissions from animal husbandry who met with CZU rector Prof. Petr Sklenička and realized various field trips and explored CZU technological operations.

This visit was followed by three members of Biogas Research Team Assoc. Prof. Dr. Hynek Roubík and dr. Jana Mazancová as senior researchers and Ing. Marek Jelínek as a junior researcher.  BRT together with colleagues from HUAF had role in implementation of large number of small-scale biogas plants in Central Vietnam as well as scientific results in forms of over 20 joint publications in prestigious international peer reviewed journals (such as: Journal of Cleaner Production, Renewable Energy, Biomass Conversion and Biorefinery, Waste Management & Research and others). Dr. Jana Mazancová provided lectures on socio-economic aspects of small-scale biogas technology and related extension services and profound the collaboration with the Department of Extension and the Faculty of Food Processing. Together with HUAF colleagues also conducted several field trips visiting female biogas plant owners investigating their attitudes towards the technology and biogas use. Ing. Marek Jelínek completed his 3-month doctoral internship at the Animal Department, where he mainly devoted himself to research in the field of biogas and work on his dissertation Assessment of Different Designs of Small-scale Biogas Plants. He also conducted several workshops for the purpose of language and cultural exchange as part of inter-university cooperation.

This summer also saw the continuation of the joint research topics of HUAF and CZU from 2006 to 2012, when joint research and development projects were carried out in the areas of sustainability of farm systems, local food systems, forest economics, food processing and agrobiodiversity. The results of these activities have been published in scientific publications and presented at international conferences. Dr. Vladimir Verner, head of the TRACE research team (Tropical Farming Systems & Ecological Economics), in collaboration with experts from HUAF, pursued a specific topic on home gardens from the perspective of biodiversity, commercialization and gender in the changing urban and peri-urban environment of the historic city of Hue.

On a July visit, the Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences staff Assoc. Prof. Ivana Tomášková and project centre specialist Martin Čabrada joined Klára Jiřičná, the FTA PR specialist, and delivered presentations, and workshops, led talks on enhancing existing cooperation and laying grounds for further expansion, taking on board FFWS staff. Assoc. Prof. Tomášková presented her current research in the plant physiology she performs at FFWS and opened a discussion to jumpstart collaboration between CZU and HUE UNIVERSITY on new research projects. Her talks were devoted to the organisation of the Plant physiology subject and the current plant physiology investigation in the field and in the laboratory currently running at the Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences. She emphasized the collaboration among the departments, mainly with the Department of Forest Protection and Department of Forest Management. She showed the basic results of the collaboration published in scientific journals and opened the space for collaboration on plant physiology between the CZU and Hue University. Ivana Tomášková also visited a laboratory with scientific instruments and discussed the possible project proposal dealing with current forestry problems in Vietnam.

Martin Čabrada of FFWS presented the Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences and space for mutual collaboration. His talk was aimed at research domains, implemented projects focusing on cooperation with SE Asian countries, study programs, teaching, student and staff mobility, and many others. Both sides expressed interest in deepening cooperation, first through mobilities, then through a capacity-building project.

Klára Jiřičná presented the FTA Communication Strategy, offering advice on how to break the university bubble and increase media awareness, drive enrolment numbers with the help of digital campaigns. The experience of communicating science in the pandemic has led to a strategy change and the PR department had to transition to a greater focus on creating digital content to attract prospective students.  HUAF staff was informed about tips and tricks to get the most media coverage despite the limited budget that PR in academia often faces by showcasing the FTA scenario.  The faculty managed to increase its presence in national media despite global changes and continue to promote faculty, popularise science, and attract new audiences.

We believe that cooperation between HUAF and CZU will now enlarge beyond BRT and Faculty of Tropical AgriSciences to other faculties and research teams from CZU.

The cooperation between CZU and HUAF was supported by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Commission

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