Western Europe

Experience and expertise in western Europe at Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.
Image courtesy of The World Factbook 2009. Washington, DC: Central Intelligence Agency, 2009.

Image courtesy of The World Factbook 2009. Washington, DC: Central Intelligence Agency, 2009.

For further information, please e-mail Deanna Behring, director of international programs.

Multiple Nations

U.S., Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, France, Czech Republic In 2003 and 2004, the College received funding from the U.S. Department of Education's Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) to develop innovative projects designed to prepare agricultural students for work in a global market economy.

The first project, the Sustainable Crop Protection in Agriculture ( SUSPROT ) program, provides students with the opportunity to study abroad while participating in international sustainable agriculture. SUSPROT brings together students and faculty in agricultural and ecological sciences to develop a new curriculum in sustainable agriculture, emphasizing crop protection. Partners in the SUSPROT project are the University of California, Davis; the University of Illinois, Urbana; Gembloux Agricultural University, Belgium; Hohenheim University, Germany; Wageningen University and Research Center, the Netherlands; and Institut National Agronomique Paris-Grignon, France.

The second project, Managing Global Value Chains, is a consortium for curriculum development between Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Morrison School of Agribusiness, Arizona State University, and Agrocampus Rennes (France), Kiel University (Germany), Czech University of Agriculture in Prague (Czech Republic). The project develops sustainable models for new curriculum development and regular exchange of upper-level undergraduate and graduate students. The project chooses the food system as a focal point that provides a rich setting to develop an understanding of the motivation for the global scope of value chains and networks. Visit the Managing Global Value Chains website to learn more about the project.


Collaboration between Penn State (Dennis van Engelsdrop, Department of Entomology) and the University of Liege (Eric Haubruge, Kim Nguyen and Claude Saegerman) include epidemiological studies designed to identify and contrast risk factors responsible for increased levels of colony mortality in the US and Belgium.

The Entomology department has had an active and productive collaboration with Dr. Eric Haubruge and his group at the Gembloux Agricultural University in Belgium. The De Moraes- Mescher research group has hosted two Belgian graduate students, François Verheggen and Edouard Lanckriet, whose work in our lab constituted a significant portion of their thesis research. This collaboration has so far led to the publication of three peer-reviewed papers, with one other submitted and one in progress.

In addition, Wen Po Chuang, Crops and Soils Sciences, a Ph.D student in Dawn Luthe's laboratory, spent the fall semester 2009 at the University of Gembloux working with Eric Haubruge and Frederick Francis. During this time Chuang analyzed the protein complement of corn leaves by electrophoresis and mass spectrometry to determine what proteins accumulate in response to caterpillar attack.


Several departments have close ties with institutions in Germany. The School of Forest Resources signed an agreement with the Albert-Ludwigs-Universitat in Freiburg in 1997. Every other year, students from our college have the opportunity to participate in a one-week, faculty-led field study in Freiburg. The Department of Dairy and Animal Science has an agreement with the Institute of Physiology in Freising, Germany, for access to the bovine oviductal cDNA library, signed in 1998.


Spiro Stefanou (Ag Economics and Rural Sociology) has a continuing association with two institutions.  He is an adjunct professor in the postgraduate program in Economics and Management Science and the Center for Management at the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute (Chania, Greece). His activities include lecturing in microeconomics and supervising M.S. theses. He is also a regular visitor in the Department of Economics at the University of Crete where he was the Senior Marie Curie Fellow, external dissertation examinare and on the organizing committee of the annual Advanced Summer School in Economics and Econometrics (which commenced in 2006).

He has also delivered an invited lecture series in the graduate program in rural economic development on Productivity and Growth in the Department of Agricultural Economics at the Agricultural University of Athens (March 2007).


Dr. Mark Brennan has a long-standing working relationship with Universities, government agencies, and NGOs, throughout the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.  In particular is work with the National University of Ireland-Galway (NUI-G).  Since 2000 he has conducted collaborative community and leadership development research, teaching, and outreach with the Department of Political Science and Sociology. Since 2004 he has worked closely with the NUI-G/UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, where he has served as a UNESCO Research Fellow twice (2007 and 2008).  In 2011 he was selected as a Fulbright Scholar and served in this capacity with the Centre.  His collaborative research and teaching focuses on civic engagement, community leadership development, youth development, and community capacity building in America, Ireland, and UNESCO partner countries.  PSU has existing MOAs with NUI-G and the UNESCO Centre.


Sjoerd Duiker (Crop and Soil Sciences) has extensive experience working in the Netherlands, as well as in Spain and parts of Africa. His interests are no-till, soil compaction, soil erosion, and soil quality. In addition to English and Dutch, Dr. Duiker speaks Spanish, French, and German.

The college's Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology has had faculty and student exchanges with Wageningen University since 1994. Several other departments--dairy and animal science, crop and soil sciences, and plant pathology--have informal relations with Wageningen as well.

Spiro Stefanou has a long-standing working relationship (since 1995) in the Netherlands with Wageningen University's Agricultural Economics and Policy Group and the Business Economics Group. He holds a part-time appointment as Professor in the Business Economics Group since 2007. He is a co-organizer of the Summer School of Efficiency and Productivity Analysis and teachings annually in a course in the Organization of Agribusiness. Over the years, he has taught graduate courses on topics related to productivity, efficiency, and innovation; serves as an external opponent on doctoral committees; and continues collaborative research activities on productivity, efficiency, and innovation applied to Dutch agriculture.

R. Michael Hulet had a sabbatical for 6 months in the Netherlands with Wageningen University a few years ago and has maintained a relationship with industry and academic institutions there. He has participated in graduate student training, evaluation of research proposal, Ph.D. defense, and with joint research that has been conducted here on our campus by graduate students from Wageningen University. He has also had two tours to visit with industry and academic personnel in the past 10 years. Dr. Hulet will travel there on a yearly basis to maintain his association with the incubation industry from a research and production stand point.

Chuck Ray and Judd H. Michael have been working with a US trade association to partner with their EU counterpart, and expect to do more work in that area.  This would be mostly Holland, but spill over to Germany as well.  Dr. Michael lived in Holland for a year and is looking for someone at Wageningen to collaborate with on some sustainability issues, and he and Dr. Ray would tie that to their applied work if they find someone.

Dr. Kelli Hoover of the Department of Entomology spent 3 months as a Research Fellow in the Laboratory of Virology at Wageningen University in 2007 conducting research on a collaborative project involving manipulation of host behavior by an insect pathogen. This fellowship was funded by the Graduate School for Production Ecology and Resource Conservation of Wageningen University. She has co-authored 2 papers thus far from these collaborations.


Victoria Braithwaite (School of Forest Resources) is involved in two joint research projects with Bergen University Norway focusing on (a) trade-offs between immune function and brain development in fish (2007-2010) and (b) prenatal stress in farmed salmon: consequences for emotional and cognitive function in offspring (2006-2009). Dr. Braithwaite is also involved in two joint research projects with the Institute of Marine Research in Norway focusing on (a) motivational state and coping ability as operational indicators of welfare in farmed fish (2006-2009) and (b) using learning ability and cognition as tools to measure welfare of farmed fish (2007-2010).


In July 2001, a generous gift to the college established the Don and Sandy McCreight Endowment in Dairy and Animal Science to enrich the educational experience and provide support for collaborative programs between the Department of Dairy and Animal Science at Penn State and the Animal Agricultural Programs at the University of the Azores, located in the city of Angra, Island of Terceira, Azores, Portugal. The two sides look forward to joint research, faculty development programs, and student exchanges.

Marc McDill (School of Forest Resources) is conducting a collaborative research on spatially explicit forest management planning model at the Technical University of Lisbon.

Spiro Stefanou has a long-standing collaborative research program with a colleague in the Faculty of Economics at the University of Porto.  This work addresses the theory and applications of dynamic efficiency and productivity measurement.


Spiro Stefanou is conducting collaborative research on dynamic investment models and risk and production at the Center for Agri-food Economy and Development (CREDA) at the University Polytechnic of Catalonia.


Dr. Constance Flanagan, Professor of Agricultural and Extension Education, was recently awarded an honorary doctorate in Humanities and Social Sciences from Örebro University in Sweden. She was nominated by faculty in political science, psychology, and media/ communications who have formed a unit at the university called YeS - Youth Engaged in Society. Please click here for more information.


A Penn State research and graduate education project is being conducted John M. Skelly (Plant Pathology) in close cooperation with the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow, and Landscape Research [also referred to as The Institut fuer Wald, Schnee, und Landschrift (WSL)] at a forest nursery site in Canton Ticino of southern Switzerland. Research and demonstrations are being conducted to determine the effects of ozone air pollution on the health and productivity of plants in southern Switzerland; many species are common to the northeastern United States as well. Studies and air-quality monitoring at this site above Chiasso, Switzerland, and Como, Italy, have been conducted since 1995. The site has developed into one of the premier research sites for determining the effects of ozone air pollution on forest trees and native plants in all of southern Europe. Over the past five years, three multinational European training courses have been held at our Penn State-WSL site for the recognition and evaluation of ozone injuries to many native plant species. Colleagues from The University of Florence, Italy, have also made use of the site for ultrastructural investigations of foliar injury and have initiated a second site with Penn State chambers and technical assistance near Cuorno in northern Italy for comparison purposes at a lower elevation but more intensive ozone exposures. Plans for cooperative studies between the three institutions continue for the foreseeable future.

United Kingdom/European Union

During the 2007-2008 academic year, Matthew Kaplan (Ag and Extension Education) has worked closely with Beth Johnson Foundation and intergenerational specialists affiliated with the foundation's United Kingdom Centre for Intergenerational Practice to conduct a study of how select intergenerational practices contribute to community participation and active citizenship, social cohesion, and various dimensions of community change. This study, conducted while Dr. Kaplan is on sabbatical, aims to contribute to an increased understanding of how intergenerational intervention strategies can assist in the creation of intergenerational, caring communities and in facilitating civic involvement and renewal.

Victoria Braithwaite (School of Forest Resources) was an invited member of a United Kingdom government advisory panel on humane endpoints for fish used in research (2007).

Dr. Mark Brennan has a long-standing working relationship with the National University of Ireland-Galway (NUI-G).  Since 2000 he has been conducting collaborative community and leadership development research, teaching, and outreach with the Department of Political Science and Sociology. Beginning in 2004 he has been intimately with the NUI-G/UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, where he has served as a UNESCO Research Fellow twice (2007 and 2008).  His collaborative research and teaching focuses on civic engagement, community leadership development, youth development, and community capacity building in America, Ireland, and UNESCO partner countries.  PSU already has existing MOA with NUI-G, however a new specialized one is being developed with the UNESCO Centre.

James Shortle has a long-standing relationship with the University College Dublin Environmental Institute.  He spends a sabbatical there and visits occasionally on collaboration with the Director.

Dr. Shortle also has a long-standing relationship with Stirling University.  He visits there almost every year and has participated on several projects funded through the UK SSRI on environmental policy topics.