PPS-ACIAR Pre Conference Mentoring Program “Mentoring early career plant pathologists – A strong foundation for capacity building and overcoming barriers in research collaboration” was organized by Pakistan Phytopathological Society (PPS) in collaboration with Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) on November 19-21, 2021 for early career plant pathologists from Pakistan. A total of 25 participants selected through a competitive selection process from each four provinces of Pakistan; Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, territory; Gilgit Baltistan and state; Azad Jammu & Kashmir and 5 resource persons joined the mentoring program. ACIAR offered funding for the complete programmatic implementation of the mentoring program. The award covers return tickets, program registration fee, accommodation, meal, and local travel during the program and 7th International Conference of Pakistan Phytopathological Society (7ICPPS).
Dr. Abdul Rehman, Secretary General, PPS welcomed the distinguished guests, and the program was opened by Dr. Amjad Shahzad Gondal (Department of Plant Pathology, Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan), ISPP Councilor, PPS with an impressive talk on Research Philosophy and Research for Development followed by the mentoring sessions by eminent scientists; Prof. Dr. Manzoor Hussain Soomro (President, ECO Foundation for Science), Dr. Ahmad Saleem Akhtar (Former Member Planning and Programming, Punjab Agricultural Research Board, Lahore) Prof. (R) Dr. Ashraf Randawa, Prof. Dr. S. T. Sahi, Prof. Dr. Nazir Javeed (Department of Plant Pathology, University of Agriculture Faisalabad), Prof. Dr. Tariq Mukhtar (Department of Plant Pathology, PMAS Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi) and Prof. (R) Dr. Saleem Shahzad (Department of Agriculture and Agribusiness Management, University of Karachi, Karachi). The ongoing research activities, collaborative research challenges, and opportunities were shared by the participants.
The second day was started with an address by Prof. Greg I. Jonson, Former President, International Society for Plant Pathology (ISPP) who shared his life-changing experiences and challenges faced in his successful career as a plant pathologist. The informative talks by Dr. Ahmad Saleem;Climate Change, Climate Smart Agriculture, Funding opportunities, and Collaborative Research Approach got a focus by the participants. Dr. Sajjad Hyder(Department of Botany, G.C. Women University, Sialkot) presented on Research Ethics. The concluding session was addressed by Dr. Munawar Raza Kazmi (Country Manager, ACIAR) with an introduction of ACIAR, funding opportunities for young phytopathologists and, a presentation on Communicating Science to the media and public. Certificates were presented to participants and focal persons by Dr. Munawar Raza Kazmi, Country Manager, ACIAR, Prof. Dr. Shahbaz Talib Sahi, Conference Secretary, 7ICPPS and Prof. Dr. Nazir Javed, Chairperson, Department of Plant Pathology, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad.