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Empowering the next generation of scientists: CABI in Pakistan offers internships for agricultural students

June 4, 2024, Pakistan: CABI’s center in Pakistan is fostering the next generation of scientists committed to improving global food security by offering internships to agricultural students in the biological control laboratories in Rawalpindi.

Thirty-one entomology and plant pathology students from Pakistan’s leading agricultural universities are participating in ongoing research projects, fieldwork, data analysis and experiments on potentially devastating crop pests and diseases.

Bridging theory and practice
The partnership between CABI and Pakistan’s top agricultural universities represents a significant step towards bridging the gap between academic learning and practical application in the agricultural sector. By integrating students into research facilities, CABI provides hands-on learning experiences that complement the theoretical knowledge acquired in classrooms. This approach improves problem-solving skills, critical thinking skills, technical knowledge, professional networks and industry insights.

Exposure to cutting-edge research and technology
By working with experienced researchers and agricultural experts, students are exposed to cutting-edge research projects, innovative technologies and sustainable agricultural practices. This exposure broadens their understanding of the agricultural landscape and inspires them to explore new avenues for research and development in Pakistan.

Networking and professional development
One of the most valuable aspects of the internships at CABI is the opportunity for networking and professional development. Interns interact with professionals from diverse backgrounds, including researchers, scientists, policymakers and industry experts. These interactions expand their professional networks and provide insight into potential career paths and opportunities in the agricultural sector.

During a conversation with the interns, Dr. Babar Bajwa, Senior Regional Director, Asia, stressed the importance of CABI’s online resources, which significantly contribute to their understanding of agriculture and enable them to make informed decisions in the field.

Positive feedback from students
Positive responses have been received from the students. One student noted that she did not have basic laboratory skills before the internship, but completed the program with extensive knowledge, including computer skills for data recording and professional development. Another student highlighted the practical skills she had acquired in biological control in a professional and supportive environment, encouraging other female students to consider the internship.

Promoting innovation and growth in agriculture
Dr. Bajwa said: “Internships at CABI provide students with a unique opportunity to contribute meaningfully to the advancement of agricultural research and development in Pakistan. By fostering collaboration, we provide students with exposure to innovative research, hands-on learning experiences, facilitate networking and professional development, and promote sustainable agriculture. CABI helps nurture the next generation of leaders who will drive innovation and growth in the agricultural sector.”

Gender diversity and inclusivity
The students, comprising 21 men and 10 women, are from University of Agriculture Faisalabad, Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi, University of Karachi and University of Poonch Rawalakot, Azad Kashmir. Gender diversity in the internship program is encouraged and an inclusive environment is ensured. By integrating gender perspectives, CABI promotes a more equitable and inclusive agricultural sector.

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