The University of Twente (UT) and Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (India) committed to a long-term collaboration. In November 2022, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed. The collaboration will be between UT’s ITC Faculty and TNAU. It will entail both education and research related to capacity development, which is the core mission of ITC, on themes like drone technologies, crop monitoring, remote sensing skills and water management.
In terms of education, ITC invites both undergraduate and PhD students from TNAU for skill development and thesis research on topics like remote sensing, earth observation and climate change. The Memorandum of Understanding also describes joint research on crop monitoring, risk changes, crop insurance, phenomics, carbon sequestration, drones, and yield estimation in tree fruit crops. Sharing knowledge on photogrammetry and drone technology will be an important part of this collaboration.
Exciting possibilities for staff and students
"We are excited to enter this collaboration with TNAU. We believe that this partnership will strengthen ITC’s contribution to societal-relevant education and research", says associate professor Anton Vrieling from the NRS department at ITC. "Benefiting from TNAU’s strong basis in agricultural education and research, and its excellent network in southern India, we expect to jointly tackle pressing concerns related to food security and climate change. Earth observation is an important input for acquiring actionable data on crops and weather impacts across spatial scales. As such, it contributes to understanding and decreasing production risks and enhancing resilience to extreme events. The combination of ITC’s geospatial expertise and TNAU’s field activities across the Tamil Nadu State offer exciting possibilities for staff and students to jointly work towards solutions for sustainable development."
Prof. Francesco Nex, associate professor and coordinator of the UAV Centre at ITC, is one of the content coordinators of this collaboration. He is pleased with this long-term and strategic approach. “We have been talking with TNAU for quite some time, but this mainly happened at the level of a department or an individual project. The fact that we are now going to develop a more structured and long-term collaboration across multiple departments at ITC and the University of India is a major milestone. We can learn from each other’s expertise. Drone technology is very helpful when it comes to soil, water, and crop monitoring. In India, this can make a big impact. It fits perfectly well with the mission we have at ITC. When we talk about capacity development, we talk about how we can apply, share and facilitate the effective use of geo-information and earth observation knowledge and tools for tackling wicked problems such as resource security”, says Nex.
This article was first published on 13 December by University of Twente.