Dole Food Company recently announced it would be sponsoring pineapple and banana PhD programs in a strategic partnership with North Carolina State University, the Costa Rican government, and the NC Research Campus. Moving forward with plans for the newly established doctoral programs, meetings were held recently between Dole scientists, NCRC researchers, the Costa Rican Investment Promotion Agency, representatives from the National Center for Science and Food Technology, EARTH University, and representatives from the University of Costa Rica.
According to the vice president of nutrition research for Dole, the company’s sponsorship will pay for the education of candidates at NCSU as well as the leadership role those candidates will take in the NCRC’s Plant Pathways Elucidation Project, an internship that researchers a variety of produce. Next year, that will include pineapple and bananas. As part of their participation in that program, candidates will learn more about how they can collaborate on the development of new pineapple and banana varieties.
Universities in Costa Rica will have two months in which to nominate candidates. All candidates must be qualified in order to study important compounds and traits in banana varieties, including drought resistance and disease resistance.
In addition to playing a significant role at the NCRC, Dole is also a vital contributor to Costa Rica’s pineapple and banana growing region.
The new PhD programs are proving to be the first fruit of an education and research agreement reached earlier in the year between the CEO of Dole, the founder of NCRC, and Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solis. More such agreements are expected to come.