Life Science Festival 2024

Summary

On April 17-18, 2024, the “Life Sciences Festival” organized by the International Agriculture University took place in Tashkent. The event attracted over 1,000 people who participated in the Open Days of this new university, listened to lectures and discussions, visited laboratories, and took an active part in sports and recreational activities.

  

The festival was held in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture, the Tourism Commission of the Ministry of Ecology, Environmental Protection and Climate Change, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), as well as representatives of the European Union. The participants included guests from Great Britain, the USA, Canada, India, Singapore, the Philippines, Poland, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.

 

The festival included several important debates: about the challenges for the development of Uzbekistan and the entire Central Asia, and about new professions needed in the face of environmental threats and climate change. Particular attention was paid to the development of agritourism in Uzbekistan as an opportunity for additional income in rural areas. As part of the exhibition, employers presented their job offers and provided advice on a successful career in the professions of the future, such as artificial intelligence, international logistics and innovation management.

 

As noted by FAO Deputy Representative in Uzbekistan Sherzod Umarov: “In the modern world, in the context of globalization, climate and other challenges facing agri-food systems, it is difficult to imagine the further development of agriculture without the use of the latest achievements of science and technology. The introduction of innovation takes agriculture to a new level, greatly simplifying hard physical work, which makes this field more interesting for young specialists. For further sustainable development of the agri-food sector, it is important to attract more young staff and provide them with the conditions necessary for professional and personal development.”

 

This year’s festival had an accent related to the celebration of Earth Day. As part of the global campaign, new trees were planted on campus. USAID Uzbekistan Mission Director David Hoffman stated: “On Earth Day and every day, the United States Agency for International Development, USAID, is committed to protecting the environment and improving the health and well-being of communities around the world. We are extremely pleased to be able to support awareness-raising events like these, especially among agricultural professions students, as they will take a leading role in mitigating climate change, adapting and ensuring food security for future generations.

 

Life sciences cover a wide range of different areas of study of living organisms and life processes. These areas include agriculture, biotechnology, bioinformatics, ecology, nutrition, genetics, medicine, neuroscience and physiology. This year, the symposium and training in the field of robotization, prepared by specialists from the Singapore Chamber of Commerce, aroused particular interest. And in the Business Marathon, carried out together with the “Youth – Our Future” Foundation, there were no seats left in the room for over 500 people! The English language seminar received high praise. The dance performances of the Indian Cultural Center and the dance school run by the Operetta in Tashkent were applauded. All this confirms that the Science Festival is much more than a traditional university open day. This is a unique opportunity to open up to new ideas and new business perspectives.

 

Together with the British Council, a dedicated session “Women in STEM” was organized. The aim of the session was to present a special scholarship program tailored specifically for women in STEM fields. Female students in particular took advantage of this opportunity, which is particularly suitable for students pursuing postgraduate studies abroad. Additionally, a special session was held during which various exam categories were presented. Students learned about a variety of language certification exam formats and methodologies offered by the British Council.

 

How to use the experience of other countries to develop agritourism in Uzbekistan? This is the topic of an all-day conference held as part of the Festival. The presentations highlighted the opportunities to use the huge potential existing in Uzbekistan and the need to prepare qualified staff. Convenient methods of planning and managing the development of rural tourism were indicated. To avoid mistakes made in other countries, Uzbekistan can benefit from the experience of Poland, the country that best went through the transformation stage. It is possible to use a huge resource of materials and patterns from Poland. It is already planned to translate and publish a manual for rural tourism trainers for recipients in Uzbekistan. The conference sponsors included LOT Polish Airlines, which from this year offers direct connections from Tashkent to Warsaw.

 

This year, robotics was also showcased through a public presentation on robotics applications in agriculture, through robotic symposium with robotic researchers and industry, and through training sessions held for more than 40 students from various schools with ages from 12 to 18 years old. These robotics events were organized by our partners from Singapore.

 

Dr. Sławomir Wróblewski, Vice-Rector of IAU, said: “The aim of the event is to raise awareness of the importance of higher education and cooperation of various partners with scientific institutions for the development of Uzbekistan. Now we are working on preparing the publication and dissemination of the results of the debates in Uzbek society. We are glad that young people from many schools visited us and over a hundred of them want to study with us.”

 

IAU is a new university, established by the decision of the President of Uzbekistan in 2022. The university cooperates with the Royal Agricultural University of England. Teaching is conducted in English.

 

Our website www.iau.uz  includes a photo gallery https://iau.uz/life-science-festival-gallery-2024 as well as reports from the 2024 and 2023 events. Post-conference materials are also being prepared.