SLU news

International collaboration advances science and education

Published: 24 August 2023

International collaboration brings the benefits to science and education of working across borders, cultures and disciplines. Joint efforts are essential to accelerate scientific advances and strengthen ties between countries. A collaboration between researchers from the Department of Molecular Sciences and S.Seifullin Kazakh Agro-Technical Research University is an excellent example of international scientific efforts.

In August 2023, the Department of Molecular Sciences hosted a delegation of scientists from S.Seifullin Kazakh Agro-Technical Research University (KATRU), which is among the three best universities in Kazakhstan with over 12000 full-time students and postgraduates. The partnership between SLU and KATRU dates back to a Tempus Capacity Building in the Field of Higher Education project in 2013, where both universities were involved and developed new master programs in Kazakhstan. Since that, a collaboration was established also in research areas, especially food and animal science, and several scientific articles have been produced. In the spring of 2023, two PhD students from KATRU, Gulim Abakanova and Gulnur Zhuzzhassarova visited SLU for a one-month internship. Collaboration also included organization of numerous online lectures, internships and a virtual excursion.

To discuss the development of further collaboration and broaden collaboration areas, Associate Professors Yuriy Balji, Zhanat Adilbekov and Dinara Zhanabayeva together with a young researcher, Leila Sultanayeva visited SLU. During the visits, the scientists expressed their views on the status of research and higher education in KATRU and discussed the great challenges at the university due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The representatives from Kazakhstan were also interested in hearing about the innovative research at our department, particularly concerning their multidisciplinary nature.

Professor Maud Langton explained the trend of replacing meat with plant-based alternatives and how novel research can facilitate the process. PhD students Jaqueline Auer and Mathias Johansson showed laboratory equipment which is used for this. The scientists from Kazakhstan were especially impressed by 3D printing technology for food product development.

The head of the department Professor Vadim Kessler presented an outline of more recent developments and strategies to further promote areas that the department excels in, such as food and biomaterials. Professor Gulaim Seisenbaeva shared her experience in collaboration with universities in Kazakhstan and suggested approaches to organize effective teacher exchange for the benefits of all partners.

Supporting international exchanges and cooperation remains an important part of university strategy, and should be further developed, said Associate Professor Galia Zamaratskaia.

The scientists from Kazakhstan also had an opportunity to discuss present and future research with the representative from RISE Martin Knicky. Martin has a long-term collaboration with KATRU in the area of livestock feeding and designing of animal feeding trials. He also expressed that he looks forward to having more cooperation with KATRU in the future.

This first visit of the delegates to Sweden enhanced the friendly relationship between KATRU and SLU, expanded trust and promoted mutual understanding.