UP agricultural researcher enriches knowledge during mentoring visit to Cornell University

Posted on December 07, 2018

Dr Colleta Gandidzanwa, a researcher in the Department of Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural Development at the University of Pretoria, had the unique opportunity to visit Cornell University in Ithaca, New York in October, having been selected earlier this year as a 2018 fellow for the Structural Transformation of African Agriculture and Rural Spaces (STAARS).

In the first week of her visit, she and other STAARS fellows presented their research concepts to members of the faculty, and worked on their projects with mentors. The three weeks presented a wonderful opportunity to not only work with STAARS fellows but also with renowned researchers from Cornell.

The fellowship programme was established in association with Cornell University, the African Development Bank, the African Economic Research Consortium, the Partnership for Economic Policy and the World Bank. Each year, the best early-career African researchers are selected and provided with technical mentorship and funding to further their research agendas.

In May 2018, Dr Gandidzanwa began working remotely with two mentors from Cornell University, Garrick Blalock and Margaret Jodlowski, on her postdoctoral project, titled “A provincial analysis of the role of mechanisation in agricultural transformation in SA”.

“The visit to Cornell University was a great learning opportunity, particularly in advancing knowledge in the field of mechanisation in South Africa,” Dr Gandidzanwa says. “I am excited to see where this research avenue will take us.”

During her visit, she also consulted with data management specialists, writing specialists and other members of the school who were working on similar projects or who showed interest in her project. In the final week, she presented an update of her work to illustrate the progress she’s made since the beginning of her visit. Dr Gandidzanwa’s visit concluded with the Northern Universities Conference at Cornell, which gave her another chance to network and learn from researchers from different parts of the world.


- Author Melissa van der Merwe and Colleta Gandidzanwa

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