News: Statistics in Research and Teaching in Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, November 2018

This year, the South Australian Committee sponsored three researchers from the Department of Agriculture of Laos, to visit the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine  at the invitation of Dr Olena Kravchuk from the University of Adelaide.

The team visited a seed project funded by the Academic Consortium for the 21st century (AC21), to initiate academic collaborations between the National University of Laos, University of Canterbury, and the University of Adelaide. The focus on partnership provided opportunities for discussion on best practices for statistical research in agriculture and environmental sciences.The visit of the three researchers, including Mr Oula Bouphakaly, Mr Khonesavanh Phialathounheuane and Mr Bounsanong Chouangthavy, coincided with the International Ranked Set Sampling Symposium hosted by the Biometry Hub at the University of Adelaide. The participants attended the round table discussions between agriculture researchers and statisticians from the Symposium.

“The participants became familiar with the statistical principles of field data collection and analysis. They met and had discussions with the leading statistical specialists from USA, NZ, Australia and Jordan, which contributed to their research growth and offered potential for new research collaborations,” said Dr Kravchuk.

The Biometry Centre, where Dr Kravchuck works, intends to expand on this training. “We will try to facilitate further professional development of the participants and contribute to teaching sampling and surveys in relation to agriculture and agri-business. The Laos Universities have limited resources, but by developing online applications that they can access from their mobile phones, we may be able to reach more students,” she said.“For the current initiation of the establishment of statistical culture in the School of Agriculture in Laos to become robust and self-reliant, links need to be established and promoted with the schools of mathematics and IT. The Biometry Centre would be happy to host MSc or PhD students from mathematics and IT studies to add a statistical element to their studies, focusing on Agriculture. This would of course need to be done in co-operation with the University of Canterbury in NZ,” Dr Kravchuk concluded.