Belfast Telegraph

Agri-science institute forges links with university in Iraq

By Clare Weir

A Northern Ireland agri-science facility has linked up with a university in a region of Iraq.

The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the University of Mosul during an Invest Northern Ireland trade mission to the country.

The agreement will mean collaboration and student exchanges between the university, one of the leading higher education and research centres in Kurdistan, and AFBI in areas such as food sciences.

AFBI provides expert diagnostic and analytical testing services to the Northern Ireland agri-food industry and clients abroad.

The University of Mosul was established in 1967 and has centres of excellence in disciplines such as computing, environmental and water resources, sensors and agriculture.

AFBI is among eight companies and organisations on the current Invest NI mission to Kurdistan, which is based in Erbil, the region's capital. It is the latest in a series of business exchanges between Northern Ireland and Kurdistan. These exchanges have included regular trade missions and visits to Northern Ireland by business and political leaders from Kurdistan.

Dr Margaret Patterson, AFBI's head of food microbiology, said the agri-food industry will benefit from the link-up.

"We see the MoU as the first stage in a relationship that could bring positive benefits to both AFBI and the University of Mosul," she said. "Initially, it will bring students from the university to work alongside our expert teams in knowledge transfer activities that will benefit Kurdistan."