Additional funding awarded to Exploring & Understanding Colombian Bio Resources projects to enhance integration activities

20 June 2019

Additional funding has been awarded to enhance integration activities between the UK and Colombian projects funded as part of the Newton-funded Exploring & Understanding Colombian Bio Resources programme.

Soil genome skills facility

At the UK-Colombia integration workshop, it was identified that there are at least nine Colombian projects that have a significant soil research component that UK projects can and will integrate with and that there is an opportunity to provide skills training on omics technologies.

As part of the programme, we will be developing and implementing a training hub, led by the University of Sheffield, for plant and soil integrated omics for Colombian researchers.

The training provision will deliver lasting in-country benefit by:

  1. establishing longer-term partnerships between the Sheffield team and Colombian collaborators that will allow them to continue to share experiences and troubleshoot future projects (bi-directionally between partners, including future exchanges)
  2. transfer skills appropriate to the facilities available in the partner institution and wider research environment.

The training will be a great capacity building activity enabling Colombian researchers to make better use of existing in-country equipment.

Community Maloca

To provide the cultural impact from the programme, the UK projects will be developing a Maloca / Maloka - a traditional Colombian hut which was the heart of communal life in settlements and a place where storytelling and debate were the primary social mechanisms. This Maloca will be used by all projects and move across the regions to ensure that it provides a space which respects the socio-cultural traditions and enables the diverse research projects to deliver high impact public engagement.

Through direct engagement with communities, the UK and Colombian projects' research outputs can be shared, relationships building on traditional knowledge can be developed, the socio-cultural importance of the Maloca can be understood, and storytelling as an integrated arts and humanities / environmental science methodology can be strengthened across all partners. This will deliver a means to spread the research and new knowledge to the people of Colombia in an accessible and sensitive manner.