Looking back with Mykola Nazarenko

Looking back with Mykola Nazarenko

Almost a year has passed since the launch of the AgriSciences UA platform, and today we will visit one of our participants – the State Agrarian and Economic University, which is located in the city of Dnipro, Dnipropetrovsk region – in one of the largest space, scientific, technical, cultural and historical regions of Ukraine – to learn about the first results of work and prospects for further development.

With great pleasure, we were able to talk with Mykola Nazarenko, an active participant of the platform – Ph.D. in Biology, associate professor of Plant Breeding and Seedfarming Department of the Agronomic Faculty of Dnipro State Agrarian and Economic University, research case: “Ecophysiology and biodiversity of cereals” – and ask about the first results of cooperation. So let’s get started:

– What distinguishes your university from other educational institutions?

– We believe that everyone has a talent. We strive to create an educational and scientific space where students, in partnership with teachers and employers, will be able to reach their potential, acquire modern knowledge, practical skills and develop their personal qualities for a successful career in the field of agribusiness. Our values: partnership, accessibility, quality and efficiency. It is no coincidence that internationalization is a priority in the development strategy of the Dnipro State Agro-Economic University for 2020-2025 years. And so one more confirmation was the participation in the platform AgriSciences UA.

– What do you think about the AgriSciences UA platform for the scientific improvement of higher education institutions in Ukraine?

– On the basis of our university there is an active resumption of research activities, in particular, for example, at the Faculty of Agronomy on the basis of the Department of Plant Breeding and the Department of Breeding and Seed Production we are creating a new laboratory that is directly related to this project and is being built with the involvement of grant funds from the Czech side. Now it is planned to make a small step toward molecular genetic analysis of crop production, including the typical markers to determine the quality of main crops, including protein markers, proteomics – in general, is a new direction for us. After all, in modern conditions, our main goal is to find our own small branch for further development, to specialize in what has not been researched or poorly studied.

– In your opinion, which important issues AgriSci UA platform helped your university in 2020?

– In 2020, our university received Czech grants to conduct research in such areas as “Winter wheat variability by grain productivity and quality under local conditions of Ukrainian North Steppe”  and “Evolution of local plant protection quality”. The grants funds were used to purchase a vertical electrophoresis camera, a filling device for it and a reflectometer for field research. It should be noted that this equipment is primarily not even for research, but for students. The fact is that whether we want it or not, students should be taught to master laboratory techniques based on real, applied research, analyzing the products that the students themselves have grown, in order to identify gaps in the cultivation technology, understand them and avoid such mistakes in the future.

– Have any research results already been obtained?

–  Of course, according to these studies, three articles have already been written and submitted for review. This cycle is continuous…

–  What are your thoughts on the development of cooperation in the research field?

–  Cooperation is really intensifying. Joint projects still give impetus, as there is often a problem of separation of experiments. For example, I often find that a man engaged in something interesting and I find it interesting, but in the information space, it is difficult to find something related, information is sometimes masked or a person does it on his own initiative without publishing, although he has significant achievements. There is a revival and, in my opinion, the expansion of the platform to other universities would only have a positive impact on these processes. We have started to cooperate more actively with the Kharkiv National Agrarian University. In particular, thanks to the platform, there is a prospect of attracting a private company to conduct experiments in several climatic zones to identify the environmental effect, evaluate it and everything related to it.

– What do you expect from the AgriSciences UA platform in the future?

–  Honestly, I expect the possibility that this project will become regular and long-term. In any case, the annual projects are in addition to what is already being done, and it would be desirable for us to look forward to the future, because, in my opinion, any scientific program, if it is planned for less than 5 years, and preferably for 8-10, risks to dissolve in time. I also hope for constant contacts, visits, and face-to-face consultations, long-term internships would also come in handy. You see, the main issue here is not money, but interest, constant contact and support, which encourages the generation of new ideas and their implementation!

These are the first successes of the AgriSciences UA platform for the Dnipro State Agro-Economic University. To be continued…, because “Where there were the past boundaries of science, there is now its center…” (G. Lichtenberg).

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