The TransAtlantic Precision Agriculture Consortium (TAPAC) consists of agricultural scientists and engineers at three southeastern land grant universities and three European Union (EU) universities dedicated to fostering the global awareness and competence of their students, faculty and staff. Dr. George Vellidis at the University of Georgia leads the consortium. As the name implies, TAPAC operates under the umbrella of precision agriculture – a common teaching, research, and outreach endeavor of all six universities.
The foundation for TAPAC was laid through years of professional networking and long-term friendships and was formalized in 2004 when its members applied for and received two student exchange/mobility grants funded concurrently by the U.S. Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE) and the European Commission’s Multinational Partnerships for Cooperation in Higher Education (MPCHE) under their common Atlantis program. The goal of the TAPAC grants titled Precision Agriculture: Technology for More Sustainable Agriculture and Greater Food Safety was to provide young professionals with the self-confidence and experience to function in the global economy through immersion in European/American academe and culture. The grants provided stipends for 22 American college students – 8 from the University of Georgia and 7 each from Auburn and Mississippi State, and 21 European students to spend a semester in Europe or the United States, respectively.
TAPAC now continues as dynamic alliance of the six universities in pursuit of stronger ties and greater cooperation in research, education, and extension activities.