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Young agricultural researchers in the developing world are to receive increased support thanks to a new agreement between the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Stockholm-based International Foundation for Science (IFS).

In a memorandum of understanding signed in Rome earlier this month, the two organisations agreed to work together to boost the involvement of young researchers in poor nations in developing sustainable agriculture.

On a practical level, this is likely to include organising joint workshops, sharing expertise and collaborating in research projects and grants.

Under the agreement, for example, FAO experts will be asked to act as mentors for young researchers supported by IFS.

"The rationale behind the agreement on the part of both organisations is the need to involve the young generation of academics in research for sustainable development," says Michael Ståhl, director of IFS, which last year provided more than 200 grants to young researchers in 35 nations. "We must get national researchers [in developing countries] on board."

Isabel Alvarez, head of FAO's research and technology development service, says the agreement establishes a strong base for future collaboration between the two organisations. "The common goal is to strengthen the research capacity of the developing countries," she says.