By Azman Zakaria
MONTPELLIER (France): The setting up of an European LabEx (External Laboratory) UPM, a Virtual Laboratory of Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) at Agropolis International, in Montpellier, will create opportunities for cooperation and foster closer ties between researchers in Malaysia and Europe.
Director of UPM’s Institute of Agricultural and Food Policy Studies, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Shaufique Fahmi Ahmad Sidique said it was hoped that UPM could be the link between European researchers and their counterparts in Malaysia as well as others in South East Asia to work hand-in-hand on issues pertaining to tropical agriculture, specifically on sustainability, food security and livelihood.
“This is a very strategic move that we are making right now,” he said in an interview with Agropolis International during a visit to Agropolis International by a delegation from UPM recently.
The visit by UPM delegation, led by Vice-Chancellor Prof. Dato’ Dr. Mohd Fauzi Ramlan, is within the framework of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two parties which includes the implementation of a LabEx, a virtual laboratory of UPM.
The European LabEx UPM is set along the lines of the two LabEx currently hosted in Montpellier - the Brazilian and the Argentinian LabEx
“I believe that given some similarities in the climate in Brazil and Argentina, we might share a lot of common interest,” said Dr Shaufique Fahmi.
He said the first researcher from UPM would arrive in Montpellier before the end of this year.
“We will definitely get someone with good caliber to be our representatives. We have candidates lining up and we will finalize them very soon,” he said.
Asked why Montpellier was chosen as the place to set up LabEx UPM, he said it was a strategic move as to further strengthen the existing cooperation between UPM and the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD) in Montpellier.
“We have CIRAD researchers in UPM, (and) having our presence here (Montpellier) will strengthen the relationship between the institutions and other institutions in Montpellier.
“By having a lab in Montpellier, we will be able to put everything together and this will definitely foster better scientific relationship,” he said. - UPM.