Sugar beet germplasm for Iran thanks to our e-mentoring program

October 5, 2021

Late last year we announced our first group of e-mentors and e-mentees as part of our new E-mentoring Program. This program was launched to ensure that, despite COVID-19 and its travel and life restrictions, we could continue to help develop the technical and organisational skills and expertise of agricultural researchers, scientists and policy makers in developing countries.

This program builds on the success of our long term existing Mentoring Program, which has seen face-to-face interaction in overseas countries, backed up by electronic contact, and our conference scholar mentoring program, matching young NextGen researchers with experienced Australians who attend our conference.

We hope that these e-connections not only deliver positive and targeted skill-sharing outcomes, but also enduring connections between the Crawford Fund, the volunteering mentors and their mentees, and the institutions and countries involved.

We now present our latest e-mentoring pair reflecting on their experience, Robert Redden, Manager, RJR Agriculture Consultants, and Abazar Rajabi, Research Deputy at the Sugar Beet Seed Institute (SBSI) in Iran.

You can also read earlier reflections from our e-mentors in Australia and their e-mentees in Iran, Bhutan, Fiji the Philippines, Ghana, Malaysia and the Philippines and Malaysia again!

E-MENTOR/E-MENTEE PAIRING – Robert Redden (Australia) and Abazar Rajabi Sol (Iran)

Robert Redden

Manager RJR Agriculture Consultants

What motivated you to be a mentor?
Interest in capacity building in developing countries

What are the main goals you are focusing on from your agreed mentoring plan?

  1. Obtaining sources indeterminate sugar beet for Iran
  2. Development of a plant breeding plan for sugar beet

What are the various ways you are communicating and what combination are you finding most useful?
Skype and email of documents

What are you getting out of our e-mentoring program?
Knowledge about a new crop and new environment, and development of a collegial relationship.

Any lessons you could share with the other e-mentors?
Get to know the mentee better with early skype sessions.

Abazar Rajabi

Research Deputy
Sugar Beet Seed Institute (SBSI), Iran

What motivated you to nominate to be a mentee?
Work experience on different aspects of sugar beet research and cultivation in Iran.

Experience on management of scientific cooperation and international relations unit at SBSI.

Managerial experience as Research Deputy at SBSI.

What are the main goals on which you are focusing in your agreed mentoring plan?

  • Broadening the communication network for efficient improvement of sugar beet.
  • Development of a framework for autumn sugar beet breeding using suitable germplasm.

How is the e-mentoring helping your development? 
Using e-mentoring, a connection has been made with Germany to get their germplasm for doing research on autumn sugar beet in Iran. I hope we will start a breeding program by the help of Dr. Redden in 2021. Also, we hope we will be able to hold e-workshops and training courses during the e-mentoring period.