Today in Jaén, UC Davis and the University of Jaén formalized an agreement aimed at advancing the olive oil sector by connecting the research engines that so passionately support it. The collaboration was reached and signed by University of Jaén rector Juan Gómez and UC Davis Olive Center executive director Dan Flynn.
The purpose of the agreement is to serve as a starting point for collaboration between the schools, and from there develop a network of esteemed universities across five continents. Members would include universities who are leaders in the olive and olive oil sector for their contributions to education, investigation, and knowledge transfer.
As Flynn explained to Olive Oil Times, despite recent controversy over the quality of foreign olive oil in the US marketplace, international universities are keen to share their knowledge with one another, creating “free trade at a university level…there’s a commitment to look for other ways to work together.”
And it’s a collaboration that began before any agreements were signed. Today, the universities came together with olive oil producer Castillo de Canena to present the Luis Vañó 2015 Research Award, for which both schools served as judges.
For Flynn, the collaboration is part of accomplishing two of the Olive Center’s key goals: first to improve the quality of olive oil, and second to improve its production efficiency — all with the ultimate objective of creating a better livelihood for the producers.
As for what’s next, Gómez told Olive Oil Times that “the next step is to identify specific collaborations between UC Davis and the University of Jaén, and then to reach out to other universities to be part of the effort.”
When asked who those other institutions might be, Gómez said that nothing has been decided, but that they have possible future collaborations in mind.