Roundtable Discussions

Choose a session below to expand

Session 1

Session 1 / Moderator: Mattia BUSTI

In this session we are challenging today’s professional profiles on the basis of the “Agronomist Universal Charter 2015” and the expectations of the bio-economy and the society.

The World Congress of Agronomist sees the term “Agronomist” in its broad sense. It covers professional profiles such as agricultural scientist, agricultural engineer, agricultural economist, food scientist, food engineer and others based on academic education with university degrees relating to the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) in the above fields.

  1. Which organizations need or should need the „Agronomist Universal Charter 2015“?
  2. Can the Universal Charter be used to certify the professional Agronomist?
  3. Should professional organizations accept members with a Bachelor degree or do you demand a Master degree?
  4. Do you think the use of the word “Agronomist” in this broad sense misleads the professional and university communities, and civil society?

If Yes, what definition would you prefer?

Session 2

Session 2 / Moderator: Alex EVANS

In Session 2 we take a critical view on study programmes of life science universities. We are asking if they build up the qualifications needed by society.

Agronomists shall succeed in their careers and contribute to a more sustainable bio-economy (biomass production and the food and non-food value chains) at the local and global level, and support the development of sustainable rural areas.

Our focus is on the situation in the 15 countries represented at the conference.

  1. Looking at your country: Do you know about on-going and/ or recently completed reforms of study programmes in in the field of bioeconomy and rural development?
  2. If yes: What are the critical success factors for the reform? Are they also based on employer’s needs?
  3. Is there a disconnection between the expectations of employers and the universities in the education of graduates? If yes, should the gap be closed?
  4. Which are the most effective bodies to act as a “go between” employers and universities?
  1. Are the existing “go between” bodies respected by the employers and the universities?
    1. If no, what are the problems?

Session 3

Session 3 / Moderator: Michel ROUX

In Session 3 we will bring the findings and insights gained in Session 1 and 2 together and develop ideas for joint actions between universities, their alumni organizations and professional organizations at national and European level.

Because the needs and possibilities may vary from country to country we invited four CEDIA member organizations to share their own experience with supporting “their” universities in the education role.

The participants at the roundtables are asked to keep in mind the results of the previous sessions when looking for answers to these questions:

 

Pre- presentation round table review discussion:

What are the take home messages from session 1 and 2 and what should be explored in session 3 – no report back at this stage!

 

Post presentation round table discussion

  1. Looking at the educational role of universities: What kind of support should they welcome from “their” alumni organizations and professional organizations?
  2. Shall we offer a platform say at the European level to be an effective forum for the engagement of universities with employers and civil society when seeking guidance in the development of the agricultural and life science curricula.
    The members of the platform could include for the, CEDIA, Alumni organizations, YPARD, IAAS alongside ICA?
  3. Could the „Agronomist Universal Charter 2015“ act as a vehicle to facilitate the “go between” discussion between employers and universities?
  4. What are the take home messages from this conference to your organization?

Results

Results of the roundtable discussions

To every question we discussed you find the answers as they were written down on flipcharts by the seven roundtables (see photos). The numbered answers correspond to the roundtables. On this basis, a summary was drafted by Michel Roux, which is listed below every question in a box. Please feel free to make your own interpretation of the results. The goal wasn’t’ to find answers true for everyone but to facilitate the discussion on the topics of the CEDIA-ICA Conference 2017 “Defining Agronomists Professional Profiles and Agricultural and Life Science Study Programmes“.

 

Session 1/ Moderator: Mattia BUSTI

In this session we are challenging today’s professional profiles on the basis of the “Agronomist Universal Charter 2015” and the expectations of the bio-economy and the society. The World Congress of Agronomist sees the term “Agronomist” in its broad sense. It covers professional profiles such as agricultural scientist, agricultural engineer, agricultural economist, food scientist, food engineer and others based on academic education with university degrees relating to the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) in the above fields.

  1. Which organizations need or should need the „Agronomist Universal Charter 2015“?

The Agronomist Universal Charter 2015 should be used by professional organizations, universities, alumni associations, students, schools.

2: Students, professionals, farmers, administration

3: Universities should follow AUC 2015

4: Professional organizations (Inspiration, ethical guideline)

5: Professional Bodies of Agronomists (branding + communication); Universities as checklist for branding & for curriculum; Schools as guide for educational advise to teenagers

7: Alumni, University, Prof. Org., Students

  1. Can the Universal Charter be used to certify the professional Agronomist?

The “Agronomist Universal Charter 2015” is considered to be an excellent tool for branding and communicating the profession of agronomists.

It’s considered to be also valuable as a basis for curriculum development and for defining ethical guidelines for agronomists.

To a certain extend, the AUC 2015 can also be used to identify required competences and standards in order to certify the profession or certain professional activities by a legal body in countries where this is needed.

1: It’s a useful mission statement and we need to communicate it actively, but it can’t be uses to certify the professional Agronomist.

2: Difficult – no technical and scientific content. Could be uses as moral or ethical statement.

3: No – But useful philosophy, not measurable

4: No

5: Communication Tool. This is more than a certification tool. In detail: No, since agronomists do more than advisory work. The task areas of expertise differ a lot. Why certify more than the university degree? Need to simplify the conditions for agronomists to work in different countries could be a reason to certify. Greece is interested in certifying according to general accepted criteria (Austria too).

7: Charter can be used as a base to identify standards

  1. Should professional organizations accept members with a Bachelor degree or do you demand a Master degree?

In most countries a Master degree is required to be accepted as an agronomist by the national professional organization. In some countries like Germany, Ireland and Switzerland graduates with a Bachelor degree from Universities of applied Science are also accepted.

1: Yes, many countries accept Bachelor’s already to be called Agronomists.

2: No, Master is demanded because of capability + responsibility

3: Yes and no. You need to follow local regulations. Balance between education and experience

4: North Europa: Yes, Bachelor degree can be enough / South Europe: No, Master degree is required

7: Usually mo. Exception: countries with prof. BSc

  1. Do you think the use of the word “Agronomist” in this broad sense misleads the professional and university communities, and civil society? If Yes, what definition would you prefer?

The term “Agronomist” has different interpretations. We can keep it an explain it (as it was done for the conference). Alternatives could be agricultural scientist/engineer and/or bioscience engineer.

1: Agronomist has different interpretations. We want to keep it and explain it.

2: Yes for food. No for other aspects of the role.

3: Agricultural Scientist

4: The term “Agronomist” is somehow misleading. Often understood as crop / plant science only.

5: Agronomist or life science? Agronomist is a short def. / maybe ok to have different definitions

7: OK in general; need to specify

 

Session 2 / Moderator: Alex EVANS

In Session 2 we take a critical view on study programmes of life science universities. We are asking if they build up the qualifications needed by society. Agronomists shall succeed in their careers and contribute to a more sustainable bio-economy (biomass production and the food and non-food value chains) at the local and global level, and support the development of sustainable rural areas. Our focus is on the situation in the 15 countries represented at the conference.

  1. Looking at your country: Do you know about on-going and/ or recently completed reforms of study programmes in the field of bioeconomy and rural development?

Study programmes are adapting continuously to changing needs in society. But not all participants can report about on-going or recently completed reforms of study programmes in their country.

1: No

2: No & Yes, different approaches in North and South

3: Constant change

4: Many reforms

5: Bologna process, awareness

6: Continues change (with society)

  1. If yes: What are the critical success factors for the reform? Are they also based on employer’s needs?

The involvement of all stakeholders is a success factors for reforms. Indicators for measuring success are a high attractiveness of study programmes for students and a high employment rate of the graduates in the long term. Reform projects need financial support and evaluations based on surveys and consulted groups.

2: Attractiveness, high employment rate

3: Introduce all stakeholders

4: Sync with industry & society; involve all actors; Employers need evaluation, annual survey, consulted groups.

5: Stakeholder feedback

6: Society needs are a long term business. Trust between the society and the education system is the key factor for success.

7: Engage all stakeholders; people have to be open and willing to talk; close contact to employers; financial support.

  1. Is there a disconnection between the expectations of employers and the university in the education of graduates?
    If yes, should the gap be closed?

There is a disconnection already due to the fact that the focus and time horizons between universities and employers are different. Employers ask for specialists and generalists with good soft skills and the ability to adapt to fast innovation. The gap isn’t easy to close and the approaches vary from country to country. All agree that it takes efforts from universities and employers to take joint actions for students, like companies participating in teaching and offering internships, as well as for graduates with after graduate programmes and life long learning initiatives.

1: Yes. Gap can be closed by companies participating in teaching and by life long learning activities.

2: Limit the disconnection; ability to adapt quickly to fast innovation.

3: Small gap; high expectations (Employer, student).

4:  Yes. All countries handle it in different ways; hard to close gap because the companies are changing so fast; Teaching for the future and not only for a company.

5: There is a gap – it needs to be closed. Soft skills. Different focus, time horizons between universities and employers. Gap should be closed by university, extra curricular, internships, life long learning.

6: We cannot ask. We have to discuss and collect.

  1. Could be closed with: More interaction with industry, real projects, team work. – Employer responsibility – more graduate programs – Universities form creative generalists with social skills – “project based learning”.
  2. Which are the most effective bodies to act as a “go between” employers and universities?

Universities are responsible for study programmes that meet the needs of society and the different sectors in the economy. Alumni associations and professional organizations can provide them especially with information on employer’s experiences with graduates.

2: None; universities should provide these missions by themselves + Alumni associations?

3: What ever works

4: External advisory board; surveys among companies (evaluations). Agricultural associations, Alumni & students

5: Broker vs. direct contact, Alumni and professional organizations, CEDIA?

7: No body, direct communication; Alumni, use them.

  1. Are the existing “go between” bodies respected by the employers and the universities? If no, what are the problems?

More and more universities invite alumni associations and professional organizations to participate in their study programme reforms. But it’s not always possible, especially when there is a lack of experience and maybe also resources.

2: Yes; but considered as “another opinion”.

3: Natural selection

4: No, not always. Because universities are not only teaching for a company, and because everyone don’t want to reform.

6: Alumni and professional organizations

Session 3 / Moderator: Michel ROUX

In Session 3 we will bring the findings and insights gained in Session 1 and 2 together and develop ideas for joint actions between universities, their alumni organizations and professional organizations at national and European level.  Because the needs and possibilities may vary from country to country we invited four CEDIA member organizations to share their own experience with supporting “their” universities in the education role.

  1. Looking at the educational role of universities: What kind of support should they welcome from “their” alumni organizations and professional organizations?

Alumni and professional organizations can support the educational role of universities in many ways. The conference has shown that universities, alumni and professional organizations share common goals. The participants proposed an active collaboration in these fields: (1) Finding a vision and trends for careers, (2) promoting the profession at high schools and universities, (3) offering career events, (4) participating at curriculum development, (5) facilitating internships and mentoring, (6) sponsoring projects, conferences, infrastructure

2: Bring research and practice together.

2: Engage with high school to encourage the study of Agronomy/ Ag Science / Ag Engineering

3: Communicate the future needs

3: Advocates of the profession

3: Project sponsoring (for solving real world problems)

4: Promote image of the profession

5: Job profiles. Career Events. So students have roadmap

5: Accreditation, curriculum development

5: Finance: for buildings, equipment, conferences

5: Job internships

6: Active collaboration

7: Common Goals, Interest for Collaboration, Finding a Vision and Trends for Careers

  1. Shall we offer a platform say at the European level to be an effective forum for the engagement of universities with employers and civil society when seeking guidance in the development of the agricultural and life science curricula.

At the European level CEDIA-ICA is the platform be used. It could be enhanced with an online platform for communication and collaboration. The purpose of the platform is (1) to share experiences made by universities, alumni and professional organizations in order to develop and promote study programmes and the profession, (2) to identify upcoming subjects of common interest, (3) to offer possibilities to network and visit each other.

2: Soft skills development.

2: Need both: national and international network; Online portal: Information in one place

3: No, not in that form

5: CEDIA encourages national professional organizations to engage with universities and industry

5: No – Platform ; Yes – universities should engage with these organizations for the development of curriculum

6: No, Knowledge Sharing Forum/Platform, Networking, Identify relevant topics

7: CEDIA-ICA is the platform to be enhanced. Thinking about inviting other organizations (e.g. bioeconomy)

  1. Could the „Agronomist Universal Charter 2015“ act as a vehicle to facilitate the “go between” discussion between employers and universities?

As already mentioned in Session 1 the “Agronomist Universal Charter 2015” is considered to be a useful communication tool and can therefore act as a good starting point for discussion.

2: Yes – good starting point for discussion

3: No, not in that form

5: Communication Tool.

7: Way to start and facilitate the discussions

  1. What are the take home messages from this conference to your organization?

Of course, every participant has its own “take home message” depending on the situation at home.
The following points might fit for all:
(1) Universities, alumni and professional organizations have common goals and are interested to collaborate in order to promote the study programmes and the profession. (2) The participants at the conference are willing to share the information on the programme programmes and on-going reforms in their countries.
(3) The „Agronomist Universal Charter 2015“ and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) adopted by the U.N. in 2015 complement each other and should serve as useful tools for finding a vision and trends for careers and study programmes in the broad field of the bioeconomy.

2: Charter document needs to be published and discussed by stakeholders

2: Professionals to engage with universities

2: U.N. Sustainable Developments Goals (SDG’s)

3: Importance of Alumni organization

3: Common problems, different solution

3: Follow up every year on previous year.

3: Mentoring: Pre Students, Students, Freshly graduates

5: Stimulation of ideas. Make members aware of what’s happening in other countries

5: ICA look to engage effectively at national level and encourage best practice to be transferred and how universities interact in the EU

5:Co-operate more closely with universities. Broadening vision to see what others are doing. Protect integration of profession at EU level.

5: Become members of IAAS to compare and contrast

5: Continually improve degree programs to ensure consistent excellence.

5: Standardize: Set number of modules that student needs to be an agronomist. Definition for agronomy

7: Interdisciplinarity

7: KU could participate in ICA again.

7: Good examples for collaboration between industries & universities.

7: Interest of the universities for collaboration

7: “Alone we go faster, together we go further.”

Results Posters