The University of Nebraska’s Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute and India-based Jain Irrigation Systems Limited, one of the largest irrigation companies in the world, this week signed a Memorandum of Understanding that lays the groundwork for joint research and education efforts in the critical areas of water and food security.
NU President James B. Milliken and Jain Irrigation Managing Director Ajit Jain signed the MOU during a ceremony in India. Under the agreement, the two institutions will create the Jain Irrigation-University of Nebraska Water for Food Research and Education Program, which will focus on enhancing water productivity; educating scientists, students and others in water management, water policy and human capital development in the water sector; and other joint efforts in water and irrigated agriculture that will be beneficial to Nebraska, India and other regions around the world.
“The University’s Daugherty Institute and Jain Irrigation began exploring collaboration because of our similar interests in water for agriculture, and I am confident this Memorandum of Understanding will lead to important work,” Milliken said. “It will pave the way for a series of joint research projects that have the potential to benefit farmers in Nebraska and around the world. Moreover, after meetings with the Jains in India and Nebraska and reciprocal visits of our researchers, it has become apparent that there may be a range of issues on which collaboration would benefit our students and faculty and I am looking forward to our continued discussions.”
Among other contributions, Milliken said that the Daugherty Institute will draw on the university’s strength in disseminating knowledge to a wide audience and using research to inform policy to advance the work of the Jain Irrigation-NU Water for Food Research and Education Program.
The program’s activities will include:
- Research to improve the ability of crops to tolerate drought, salinity and other stressors.
- Research on other food security topics including irrigated agriculture, water use efficiency, crop yields and others.
- Joint efforts to translate research into practical education and outreach tools for farmers and producers.
- Student exchanges that will provide valuable international experience and unique research opportunities for students in Nebraska and India.
Annual work plans developed by the university and Jain Irrigation will outline specific activities.
“Because of our collaborative efforts, I am confident that the future of biotechnology, information technology and nanotechnology in agriculture – all of which are high-priority research areas at the University of Nebraska and Jain Irrigation – is bright,” said Jain Irrigation Chairman B.H. Jain. “We’re also interested in taking advantage of our shared expertise in other areas. The University of Nebraska and Jain Irrigation will be excellent partners and we look forward to working together.”
India is one of three countries NU is targeting for close cooperation as part of its overall global engagement strategy to initiate research collaborations and student and faculty exchanges that will benefit Nebraska and the world. Joint efforts between Nebraska and India in critical areas such as water, food security, public health and early childhood education and development – all of which are strengths for NU – can help address challenges facing both regions as well as the rest of the world.