Food security and food self-sufficiency, modernization of agriculture, adoption of environment-friendly policies, and the development of renewable energy sources are top priorities of Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s government.
Kazakhstan is the world’s ninth-largest country with an area of 2,700,000 square kilometers making it equal to the entire western Europe in terms of area. The country is home to nearly 20 million people 45 percent of whom live in rural areas and two million work in the agriculture sector.
Nearly 75 percent of Kazakhstan’s land is suitable for agriculture, however, only 30 percent of its land is used for agriculture, still, Kazakhstan is among the top 10 producers of wheat in the world.
Now the Government wants to further develop the agriculture sector turning it into the major driver of the national economy. The goal is to transform Kazakhstan into a leading food-exporting country. Therefore, the focus is on technological innovations and applied research with the aim to bridge gaps between academia and business & industry. Universities are key players in the Kazakh government’s modernization strategy.
Kazakh Agrotechnical Research University (KATRU) is among Kazakhstan’s top three universities. It is located in Astana, one of the newest and most modern cities in the world, which is also the capital of Kazakhstan. KATRU is City’s oldest university. The University is also known as Seifullin University. Saken Seifullin was a national hero of Kazakhstan.
Established in 1957, KATRU now has 12000 students and 860 teaching staff in the University’s nine faculties and 16 research institutions. The University has been a distinguished and proven leader in solid fundamental and applied research since the 1960s in the fields of agricultural economics; crop production, agriculture, agro-chemistry and soil science, plant protection; microbiology, veterinary medicine, and animal husbandry; plant and animal biotechnology; land management, architecture and design, mechanization, and electrification of agriculture, as well as humanitarian areas.
KATRU scientists’ research and scientific and technological innovations played a key role in transforming the Soviet Union into a superpower and excelling in food production, agriculture engineering, energy and ecology, biotechnology, and other fields.
Since the independence of Kazakhstan in 1991, through its cutting-edge research solutions and technological innovations KATRU has been an engine behind the unprecedented economic growth, scientific innovations, and infrastructural developments in modern Kazakhstan, which is now the most advanced and developed state in Central Asia.
Astana is known the world over for its modern and unique architecture and city structures. KATRU Department of Architecture has a significant role and contributions to the engineering and designing of Astana’s major building structures and architecture.
Due to KATRU’s solid academic achievement and reputation, the government of Kazakhstan has transferred 13 national research institutes to KATRU. These institutes located in various parts of Kazakhstan were part of the Ministry of Agriculture and worked under the Kazakhstan National Agriculture Research and Education Center. That Center has been closed now and its constituent institutions have been transferred to different universities. The purpose of the move is to create a link between education, research, and production.
KATRU already had three research institutes, with the addition of 13 more by the government, KATRU now has 16 research institutes. This is a sign of huge trust in KATRU’s credibility and academic standing. Such an expansion in its research work and activities has transformed KATRU into a globally engaged modern Research University contributing to the creation of a “knowledge society” in Kazakhstan and building knowledge bridges in the Eurasian region and beyond through the creation, exchange, and transfer of knowledge & expertise in the fields of food, agriculture, and sustainable development using the work, achievements, and contributions of KATRU scientists, teachers, and students.
The University’s new Rector, Professor Kanat Maratovich Tireuov, plans to strengthen KATRU as a global hub of research, innovation, and technology connected with the rest of the world through collaborative and inter-disciplinary research, academic exchanges, and partnerships beneficial to local, and national, and global economies and societies.
“By 2030 KATRU will be among the world’s top entrepreneurial research universities offering global education, cutting-edge research, and scientific and technical solutions to global and national challenges,” vowed Rector Professor Tireuov.
Muhammad Sheraz is an adviser to the Rector KATRU on strategy, global engagement, and communication. He can be reached at: [email protected]