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Page last updated at 16:28 GMT, Monday, 21 December 2009
University of Bath scientists take technology to Africa
Dr Long and Professor Székely
Dr Long and Professor Székely run a workshop at the University of Toliara

Bath scientists have set up a specialist research lab in Madagascar to train local students.

Dr Peter Long and Professor Tamás Székely from the University of Bath will use the satellite technology to monitor and conserve the environment.

Dr Long and Professor Székely have created a specialist lab by providing laptops, internet access and GPS receivers at the University of Toliara.

They had to transport books, laptops, printers and equipment using rickshaws.

The project has been supported by The Leverhulme Trust and the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) Ralph Brown Expedition Award.

The pair have also been training Madagascan biology graduates to analyse satellite images for projects ranging from environmental conservation to planning and forestry management.

'Interesting challenge'

Dr Long said: "We noticed that the local biology graduates [at the University of Toliara] have quite an old-fashioned education at university.

"They don't have the transferable skills they need to be able to work in environmental impact jobs such as park management, geographical planning and the mining industry.

"This means that companies employ foreign workers to do these jobs instead.

"We decided to set up a lab there and run workshops to teach these specialist skills to lecturers and students at the university."

Professor Székely said: "It was an interesting challenge - the lab didn't have any furniture, or even a door, let alone internet access.

"We had to transport all the books, laptops, printers and field equipment using rickshaws.

"It's very satisfying to see the progress of the students. We've met some good friends with whom we hope to be able to collaborate academically in the future."




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