The Kazakh researchers, who spent about three weeks at the Faculty of Science and Technology of the University of Debrecen on behalf of the Faculty of Biology and Biotechnology of Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, had a chance to get familiar with almost the entire spectrum of the educational and research program and portfolio at work in the Institute of Biology and Ecology and the Institute of Biotechnology of the Faculty of Science and Technology, including individual issues such as hydrobiological methods, phylogeography, cell death, microbiological procedures, seed banks and ethnobotanical research.
The four MSc students and Assistant Professor Abidkulova Karime also participated in a number of short field trips in addition to attending several theoretical classes, where they studied the flora and fauna of the Hortobágy region, the nature conservation areas and their special features around the hill called Tokaji-hegy and the mountains of Visegrádi-hegység. Apart from focusing on topics of education and research, they also explored and discussed additional opportunities for cooperation.
“This has been our first visit to the University of Debrecen and we have gained a lot of valuable experience. We appreciate the chance to find out about the details of current research projects conducted here, the salient features of educational programs in operation and the potential channels of further cooperation between our universities. We trust that there would be even more Kazakh students coming to Debrecen in the future thanks to the Stipendium Hungaricum scholarship initiative launched by the Hungarian state,” said Assistant Professor of the Department of Biodiversity and Biological Resources of Al-Farabi Kazakh National University Abidkulova Karime to hirek.unideb.hu when assessing the results of the study trip.
In fact, the cooperation between the two institutes had started several years ago. Gábor Sramkó, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Department of Botany at the the Faculty of Science and Technology of the University of Debrecen, whose Lendület [Momentum] Research Group carries out research projects focusing on the origins and evolutionary history of plants and animals of the Eurasian steppe, has participated in a number of expeditions exploring the Almaty region, besides contributing to a series of related Kazakh research efforts.
“The evolutionary history of plants and animals of the steppe is oftentimes related to species indigenous in the mountains of Kazakhstan, which shows that colonization of the Eurasian steppe or grassland habitats that dates back to a recent geochronological period started from that area. Consequently, these research initiatives are also significant from a phylogeographical aspect as well,” said Gábor Sramkó, the head of MTA-DE Lendület Evolúciós Filogenomikai Kutatócsoport [Research Group of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the University of Debrecen in Evolutionary Phylogenomics].
Approximately one quarter of the 3000 students enrolled at the Faculty of Science and Technology are international students, and the faculty leadership would like to hope that this proportion could become even more extensive through the ever-growing volume of international relations and cooperation.
“Both the scientific and the engineering programs we offer are popular with the international students, the favorites being biology, physics, chemistry and electric engineering. We have quite a few students from Kazakhstan specializing in these fields. Collaborations and mutual visits of this kind play a significant part in developing and expanding our current international relations,” said Dean Ferenc Kun to hirek.unideb.hu.
At present, there are 146 Kazakh students enrolled in various programs of the University of Debrecen, thirty-nine of whom are affiliated with the Faculty of Science and Technology.