US-Hungary Cooperation: Dual Degree in Agricultural Education

The vice president for international affairs at South Dakota State University and the agricultural attaché at the Hungarian Embassy in Washington D.C. visited to the University of Debrecen. The two guests from the United States received a comprehensive introduction to the university’s agricultural education and research structure on the occasion of the launch of a dual degree program in precision agriculture engineering in Debrecen in September of this year.

Jon Stauff, vice president for international affairs of South Dakota's oldest university, founded in 1862, and Béla Kocsy, the diplomat at the Hungarian Embassy in Washington, D.C. responsible for agricultural and environmental issues, were welcomed on Friday by Endre Harsányi, the vice rector responsible for the development of the agricultural and food science sector, and Okszána Kiszil, director of coordination and strategy. 

During the meeting following a tour of the Main Building, the guests were given a detailed overview of the history, organisation, infrastructure, international relations and research goals of the University of Debrecen.

Okszána Kiszil highlighted the four-helix innovation structure around the institution and the fact that the University of Debrecen has the largest international community in Hungary, with more than 7,000 of the total student body of over 30,000 coming from 120 countries around the world. Currently, there are 29 students from the United States of America studying at the University of Debrecen, most of them at the Faculty of Medicine, the Faculty of Science and Technology and the Faculty of Economics.

Recalling the history of the BSc programme in precision agricultural engineering, which is unique in Hungary and will start in September at the Faculty of Agriculture, Food Science and Environmental Management (MÉK), Harsányi highlighted that following the visit by a delegation of agricultural specialists to South Dakota in the spring, close cooperation was established and the BSc programme, which will lead to a dual degree, will also start in just a few days. 

Since 2000, the Faculty of Agriculture in Debrecen has been conducting research in the field of precision agriculture, which among other things is aimed at more efficient agriculture in terms of energy, nutrient use and crop protection. In the framework of the new bachelor programme, students will learn the foundations of robotics, BigData, geographical information systems, drone technology and infocommunications, among others, and will give also receive an opportunity to spend two semesters at the University of South Dakota for work experience. 

At the meeting, dean László Stündl presented to the guests the full educational system of MÉK, its international network of contacts and the main research areas, such as scientific work and achievements in the field of medical food. 

Related to the above, Jon Stauff, vice president for international affairs, presented the education and research structure of South Dakota State University, underlining the importance he attaches to the launching and joint operation of the dual degree programme. Béla Kocsy, agricultural attaché at the Hungarian Embassy in Washington, D.C., added that it is gratifying that the educational cooperation between the two institutions is supported in full by both the Hungarian Ministry of Agriculture and its US counterpart.

After the meeting, members of the delegation members visited the University of Debrecen's demonstration farm, viewed the technical and research infrastructure, and on Sunday they attended the ceremonial opening of the academic year at the University’s Senate meeting held in Phoenix Arena.


Press Centre