Professor Anton Ströh, Vice-Principal: Institutional Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, and acting Vice-Principle for Research and Post-graduate Educationat the University of Pretoria was the guest speaker at the FABI Monday Morning Meeting (MMM) of 8 February. Prof Ströh has worked closely with the Institute for more than 20 years and seen it growing from a small unit to a leading international research establishment. He spoke on how the University of Pretoria (UP) had embarked on a drive to improve its research output and developing networks and platformsto drive transdisciplinary research projects. He explained that UP aspire to address complex problems that, once solved, will have a big impact on society. “Within the United Nations’ 17 Strategic Development Goals there are many such problems.” While animal and plant sciences have traditionally been strong at UP, the University was also making a concerted effort to develop its research capacity across a broad range of the sciences.

Innovation Africa @UP is an important part of this plan to drive transdisciplinary research and FABI is a core part of this flagship project. Innovation Africa plans to develop the UP experimental farm, in collaboration with other institutions in the area, into the “most innovative square mile in Africa”. Prof. Stroh said that he looked forward to seeing how FABI takes on this challenge in fields such as smart forestry and agriculture and food security.

FABI Director Prof. Bernard Slippers thanked Prof. Stroh for his engagement and support for FABI. He said that the Institute must throw its energy and weight behind opportunities where they arise as it has a contribution to make to develop capacity on the continent.