Embrapa's Virtual Laboratory Abroad (Labex) started in the United States (USA) in 1998. The opportunity was made possible through a cooperation agreement with the Agriculture Research Service (ARS), with funds from the PRODETAB (Project of Support to the Development of Agricultural Technology for Brazil), through loans obtained from the World Bank.
With about 2000 scientists, ARS is the agricultural research institute of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Its goal, similarly to Embrapa's, is to bring forth technological solutions for the agricultural problems of the country. In this context, the institution has several parallels with Embrapa, in terms of mission and challenges, which makes cooperation between both institutions highly strategic, and has allowed for synergy in the development of activities. Since the implementation of the program, ARS has been Embrapa's main partner in the program in the USA. The aims of Labex USA include consolidating partnerships with scientific teams of recognized ability at the frontier of knowledge, implement strategic research of common interest, and identify trends with potential converging benefits for the agribusiness in Brazil and the US. Thus, since 1998, several Embrapa researchers have gone through Labex United States and developed research jointly with American researchers, in areas such as breeding and genetic resources, animal health, nanotechnology, biotechnology, climate change, precision agriculture, integrated pest management, among others.
Embrapa has also received senior researchers from ARS and the USDA Forest Service for the development of projects of mutual interest, activities that had been established since the beginning of the Program.
Geraldo B. Martha Jr.
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