The National, Tuesday 28th August 2012
By JAMES LARAKI
A MEMORANDUM of understanding (MoU) is a document describing a bilateral or multilateral agreement between parties.
There be may be many forms, depending on the nature of such agreement but, overall, it defines a common line of action required to achieve certain objectives and activities. Such understanding creates an environment for effective partnerships, collaborations and networking among concerned parties. Such approach is essential in any development efforts and is no exception for agricultural research and development.
With this in mind, two premier institutions in the country reached an agreement early this month to foster a greater partnership in agriculture research and training.
The National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) and the PNG University of Technology (Unitech) signed an MoU to work in partnership over the next 10 years to share resources and expertise in order to improve their programmes and activities.
This would allow the two institutions to commit themselves to work in partnership to have greater impact in society.
This is essential as both institutions now have comparative advantage through this partnership through sharing of resources and knowledge through their training and research initiatives to enhance the development of human resources and research capacity.
The partnership creates an opportunity to support PNG agriculture, given that agricultural research is important for the country.
The MoU would further strengthen the existing partnership already in place between Unitech Facility of Agriculture and NARI since September 2003.
It would allow the two institutions to strengthen partnerships to implement academic, technical and professional cooperation and collaboration through research, study and training in furthering the advancement of learning, knowledge, science and technology and professional development.
The MoU would allow the two premier institutions to work in partnership in mobilising resources and exploring other potentials and opportunities.
The MoU now makes way for visits by academics/scientists between the two institutions to share expertise and engage in collaborative research, teaching, training and extension activities. It would also facilitate sharing of and access to research laboratories, specialised instrumentation and equipment and farm or research field facilities.
Unitech Vice-Chancellor Prof Albert Schram said the MoU was part of the university’s plans towards achieving self-sustainability and to achieve institutional and international accreditation.
He said such partnerships allow like-minded institutions to come together to apply for funding in collaboration with other national and international organisations.
The MoU aims to strengthen the following objectives and activities:
lEncourage visits by academics/scientists from one institution to the other for the purpose of sharing expertise and engaging in collaborative research, teaching, training and extension activities;
lFacilitate the admission and supervision of students from Unitech to NARI for industrial training and research, and admission of NARI personnel to Unitech for advanced graduate study programmes and participation in research;
lFacilitate and enhance joint supervisor capabilities of NARI and Unitech for research and post-graduate studies;
lFacilitate sharing of and access to research laboratories, specialised instrumentation and equipment and farm or field facilities for joint and collaborative research, teaching, training and extension activities;
lFacilitate participation of undergraduate students of Unitech agriculture department or any other relevant departments in field surveys for NARI programmes and components of term practical lessons or for vacation training and employment;
lFoster the exchange of academic publications and scholarly information, be it through sharing of library resources, distribution of publications, conducting seminars, short courses and workshops and any other activities to enhance information flows, exchange and sharing;
lIdentify specific needs and programmes of each institution and facilitate planning for programmes of mutual benefit in research, teaching, training and extension;
lFurther foster team work in joint submission of research proposals, research collaboration and publication between NARI and Unitech;
lFacilitate collaboration between Unitech departments or centres in teaching, research and community outreach programmes; and
lPromote other academic and professional activities to enhance such objectives and activities.
Both institutions have agreed to provide the necessary resources to facilitate any collaborative work that falls under the MoU.
The MoU between institutions may not be unique but what is important is the commitment and ability to implement what is defined in such agreements by parties concerned for the benefit of society.
The leadership shown by the two institutions is commendable and we hope it is implemented for the benefit of all.