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Created on: 09. November 2023

MATE delegation visits Cornell University

A delegation from the Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences (MATE) visited Cornell University between 17-22 October 2023. ​​​​​
​​​​​​​The visit took place within the framework of the Erasmus+ Programme. Cornell University has been the Erasmus partner of MATE since 2018. Under Erasmus+ International Credit Mobility Programme, nine Cornell students have already participated in summer internships at MATE Department of Aquaculture and Department of Zoology and Ecology since 2019.

Furthermore, Dr. Mark Sarvary, Director of Investigative Biology Teaching Laboratories and host of the mobility project from the academic side, Cindy Tarter, Associate Director of international engagement at Cornell CALS, and Kathleen Gifford also visited MATE.

A delegation from MATE visited Cornell University in October 2023 to expand the mobility programme and collaboration. The members of the delegation were Dr. Ákos Horváth, Head of the Department of Aquaculture, Dr. István Péter Nagy and Dr. Gergely Boros from the Department of Zoology and Ecology, and Zsuzsanna Heltai, Erasmus Programme Coordinator. MATE faculty members attended Dr. Sarvary's Investigative Biology lecture, where they gave lectures to an audience of over 300 students, discussing the diverse research projects conducted at MATE.  

​​​​​​​​​​In the field of zoology, a visit to the laboratory of Prof. Frank Schröder was a highlight of the professional meetings, during which colleagues interested in soil zoology had an in-depth discussion on the diverse effects of Caenorhabditis elegans and some other nematode species on soil bacteria. To deepen the links between the institutions, the delegation visited the Cornell AgriTech in Geneva, where they met Director Prof. Christine Smart, and were then given a tour of the Soil Ecology Lab by Dr. Kyle Wickings and colleagues, who introduced them to the research being carried out there and explored a number of opportunities for collaboration.

In the field of fish farming, Dr Eugene Won showed the colleagues around the university's fish farming systems, recirculation and aquaponic fish rearing units, where feeding and growth tests are carried out. In addition, Dr. Ákos Horváth discussed population genetics issues in various aquatic organisms with Dr. Matthew Hare, Associate Professor in the Department of Natural Resources. On the last day of the visit, the delegation visited Dr Jelena Lujić, a former MATE post-doctoral researcher who is currently working in a renowned laboratory at the College of Veterinary Medicine, and visited the institution's mouse house to gain an insight into the reproductive biology research being carried out there.

As part of the program, the delegation attended a poster exhibition of Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) students about their summer internships, including three exchange students who participated in a research internship at MATE.

​​​​​At the opening of the exhibition, Benjamin Z. Houlton, Dean of CALS at Cornell, welcomed the Hungarian partners by name and emphasized the importance of the internship at MATE. Erasmus International Credit Mobility Programme, which provides the financial backing for the program, has been a nationally outstanding success for MATE since its inception. The mobility cooperation with Cornell University, a world leader in science and higher education, has contributed greatly to this success and has set a good example in the field of internships. The Ivy League Cornell University is ranked 13th in the 2024 QS World Ranking. MATE students and faculty have very few opportunities to participate in an exchange program at such a prestigious university.

​​​​​​Cornell's STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) undergraduates rarely have the opportunity to study abroad because they cannot miss a full semester or year due to the rigorous curricula. Therefore, the two-month Erasmus summer internship program offered by MATE not only enhances the quality of education for Cornell students professionally, but in most cases offers the only chance to gain international experience.

Based on the Erasmus Inter-Institutional Agreement and reciprocity, Cornell is also ready to host MATE students for internships. In order to explore the possibilities, the delegation met with several heads or representatives of research, teaching and administrative units. As a result of these meetings, it became clear that the most suitable candidates for student exchange would be those enrolled in relevant doctoral programmes at MATE. The two MATE departments concerned liaise with Cornell faculty and jointly develop the topics of the internship for the outgoing doctoral students. The practical implementation of the program is carried out by the Center for International Education at MATE that keeps contact with the Office of Global Learning, which is responsible for the organization of internships at Cornell.


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