ZEF-IPADS international collaboration is strengthened by people's participation and cooperation

March 19, 2016.  

Six ZEF students has been visiting the International Program in Agricultural Development Studies (IPADS) at the University of Tokyo from March 11-20, 2016, for joint lectures, field training and exchange.

Eeusha Nafi from Bangladesh, Leila Hashweh from Palestine, Melissa Quispe Zuniga from Peru, Florent Noulekoun from Benin, Sophoanrith Ro from Combodia, and Janina Kleeman from Germany formed the ZEF delegation who visited IPADS at the University of Tokyo and the University's Institute for Sustainable Agro-ecosystem Services ISAS for on-site training together with around 20 international IPADS students.

Double Memoranda of Understanding
With the recent signing of two Memoranda of Understanding between the University of Tokyo and the University of Bonn on the one hand and the MoU between ZEF and IPADS on the other hand, the “strategic international partnership” between both universities and their international research institutes has become official.

Cooperation partner IPADS
The partner institute IPADS stands for “International Program in Agricultural Development Studies” and it is part of the Graduate School for Agriculture and Life Sciences of the University of Tokyo, which is also affiliated with the Faculty of Agriculture.

Why was IPADS so keen on cooperating with ZEF in the first place is a question we pose to Professor Kensuke Okada, who is with us during our stay in Tokyo and the driving force behind this collaboration. “ZEF has a track record in international research projects, and in interdisciplinary research and education. These are the fields we want to move forward in”, responds Professor Okada. “The University has embarked on a large number of international strategic partnerships (at the moment there 22 partnerships with universities in 14 different countries) to strive for mobility, excellence and diversity. However, we are the only ones working in the field of development research. And we have achieved a lot in a short period of time”, he adds

Exchange of Professors and students from IPADS and ZEF
The six doctoral students from ZEF have dived into the topic of crop modelling and agriculture and learned a lot about life and studies in Japan. “It was hard work but also a unique experience” says Florent Noulekoun from Benin. “The courses and practical work we had and did here perfectly complement my work on afforestation in West Africa”.

Professor Okada has been teaching students in Bonn recently, while IPADS students in Tokyo were connected via video and could thus join the class. Last year, ZEF senior researcher Manfred Denich travelled to Tokyo to teach students at IPADS.

Some facts & figures
The University of Tokyo is one of the most renown national (non-private) universities in Asia. It is one of six universities in Tokyo, it has 10 faculties (University of Bonn has seven), around 28,000 students (University of Bonn: 32,500) of whom around 2,100 international ones (University of Bonn: 4,000). There are around 2,400 Professors (including Associate Professors) whereas Bonn’s University has only 544.

Social Media:

Interview with Professor Nobuyuki Yagi on the ZEF-IPADS-Page.

See our recent posts on ZEF's facebook site:


on ZEF's blog (in English) and on the University of Bonn's blog (in German)

Interview with Dr. Taro Takahashi: Watch it on ZEF's youtube channel (July 7, 2015).

You can also visit the ZEF-IPADS Website



Alma van der Veen