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Expanding MSU's Strategic Partnership with the International Potato Center

Published: Friday, 12 May 2017
Author: Joy M Whitten
Department: Latin American Studies Center

April's visit to MSU by Dr. Hugo Campos, the Research Director of the International Potato Center (CIP), headquartered in Lima, Peru, began as a conversation among potato breeders working in Michigan and Peru. However, the itinerary for the visit quickly expanded to integrate more than 30 MSU researchers from multiple departments in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Accompanying Dr. Campos was Dr. Simon Heck, CIP's Program Manager in Uganda, who leads efforts to scale up CIP's work on bio-enriched sweet potatoes in Africa. In a seminar that kicked off their stay on campus, Dr. Campos, a plant breeder, and Dr. Heck, an anthropologist, emphasized the need to integrate social science approaches with advances in plant breeding to maximize the nutritional and health impact of crop improvements. Reflecting this emphasis, they held meetings with both plant scientists and social scientists during their stay on campus. 

The duo explained that they had high expectations for their conversations at MSU, based on the institution's reputation and past collaborations with CIP. However, they asserted, their actual engagements with researchers across campus surpassed these expectations. As a Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) center with projects across Africa and Asia, as well as the Americas, CIP is an important actor in powerful networks within and across these regions. CLACS' strategic aim in facilitating this visit by CIP personnel MSU is to leverage MSU and CIP networks for expanded future collaborations in research, project implementation, and project assessment.