In Cambodia, agriculture is the backbone of the country's economy, and it is currently a priority sector of the government policy. Not only the Ministry of Agriculture who work on this sector, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS) also play a very important role in development of human resources for this sector. In fact, a higher education institution (HEI) in the country is poor in terms of the quality, which needs improving and enhancing.   READ MORE >

Because of many reasons, for example, between 1975 and 1979, the Khmer Rouge regime forced the cessation of formal education. Schools and Universities were closed and destroyed and teaching services decimated. People who they perceived as intellectuals or even those who had stereotypical signs of learning, such as glasses, were killed. The educational buildings and facilities were destroyed, and it is estimated that 75% of tertiary teachers and 96% of university students were killed. In 1980, the Ecole Normale Supérieure reopened, again teaching predominantly in French. The following year university focused on training students to become teachers, thus rebuilding the education system within Cambodia. During the past decade, the total number of students enrolled in HEIs increased nearly tenfold, from a modest 10.000 students in 1997 to 97.524 in 2006, and to 168.000 in 2009. The steep rate of increase in HEI student enrolment is a function of the mushrooming of HEIs between 1997 and 2009.

However, most of universities (mostly private sectors) are located in the capital city, and several universities were recently established beyond the capital between 2007 and 2009 to provide higher education (HE) services to people who live in rural areas. The expansion of university education in both developed and developing countries is clearly linked to concerns about quantity and quality of human resources and the demand and supply of higher‐level skilled professionals, typically recruiting faculty with higher degrees and enrolling only a small proportion of qualified high school graduates into undergraduate programmes.

Yet, there is some realization that it is no use bemoaning the structural fact of a “missing generation” and the urgent task today is to cultivate newer generations of highly‐educated academics.


Enhance the knowledge, skill and attitudes // Acquire theoretical and practical knowledge
// Promote the exchange of experiences // Improve the institutional capacity.



To enhance higher-education quality

To improve the higher -education quality and its relevance for the labour market and society of Cambodia as well as the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) through offering Master´s Programmes in Sustainable Agriculture (MSA) and 

To build capacity of the young universities in Cambodia by providing advance training courses (ATC), collaborating and networking with appropriate national and international partners to be a multi institutional research and education center.


To develop human resources

The project favours countries that really need help for capacity building for education and research, like Cambodia where human resources are insufficient (less than 10% of University staff are holding PhDs). Thus, UNICAM will promote the exchange of experiences among participants and interdisciplinary cooperation.

To build university capacity

As agriculture should be studied at a large scale, UNICAM has associate partners form Thailand and Japan that can contribute no only to additional scientific expertise, but also additional funds for the project.

These objectives will be achieved through implementing comprehensive curriculum of Master´s programme in Sustainable Agriculture (MSA) and advance training courses (ATC) at young universities in the rural areas of Cambodia. All these actions will allow acquiring theoretical and practical knowledge to plan, evaluate and monitor sustainable agriculture products and improve the institutional capacity, in particular the capacity of management of organic agricultures and healthy foods in the country.

Innovative character of the UNICAM project

  • To address an internationally recognized education systems on sustainable agriculture
  • To take advantage to be able to conduct research on sustainable agriculture in the hotspot areas that is currently contaminated due to population and economic increases
  • To transfer these methodologies to an inter-regional network and combine it with their recognized expertise
  • To generate collaborative genuine products that are expected to have a sustained international scientific impact
Innovative character of the UNICAM project

Project activity and methodology

Methodological/technological innovations will be included:

  • A comprehensive master's curriculum on Sustainable Agriculture to meet the requirements of job market at SEA regional scale
  • Exchange programmes, internship and research stay at abroad
  • Field work in Cambodia and abroad for exploring and learning to find out main issues to deal with, and opportunities in the SEA region
  • The advanced training courses (ATC) and exchange programs among the universities for academic staff and young researchers (e.g. research and teaching skills) and also among the four Cambodian universities to share their experience
  • Providing seed grants for young researchers in order to improve and build their capacities up in development of technological innovations, which are related to sustainable agriculture, food safety and environmental conservation
  • Develop an academic journal for publishing research articles to disseminate research findings as well as to strengthen their capacities
  • Annual scientific conference at regional level to provide opportunities for them to improve and upgrade their knowledge through participating in the scientific meeting


Work packages


WP1.- Preparation:

Review of the existing curricula of master’s programmes at local, regional and global levels to develop a comprehensive curriculum of Master´s programme in Sustainable Agriculture (MSA), this work package will be strongly supported by the EU and associate partners and stakeholders.


WP2.- Development:

Master´s programme in Sustainable Agriculture (MSA) and advance training courses (ATCs) will be offered at the four young universities in Cambodia to develop human resources and build university capacity. The both programmes will benefit to Cambodia for as long as the country’s need. 


WP3.- Quality plan:

Internal and external quality evaluation and control of the UNICAM project. 


WP4.- Dissemination & exploitation:

Dissemination of project results at wide scale. For instances, publications (e.g. scientific journal), UNICAM web-site updating and social networks (Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin). 


WP5.- Management:

Consortium board (CB) activities like management and monitor all project activities. 


Expected impact of the project?

The project will contribute to the strategic goal of promoting sustainable management of the environment and its resources in one of the poorest country of SEA. We will offer a comprehensive master's programme, and conduct advance training courses (ATC) at the four young universities in Cambodia, to develop numbers of skilled people.

The expected impact of the project is more effective, inclusive and country‐owned agriculture, food security and nutrition investment programmes through strengthening national capacities.

It will be achieved through four components:

1. Offering master's programme at the four universities to provide opportunities to people who live in rural areas.

2. Capacity development in the design and management of investment operations, including the various technical, economic, social and environmental dimensions of project design, project management, Monitoring and Evaluation, etc.

3. Strategic support in technical approaches (water management, seed quality assurance and nutrition) that have been prioritized by the Government and other stakeholders as critical to the development of key investments.

4. Capacity development of stakeholders’ organization to ensure inclusiveness of investment programmes and participation of these stakeholders in their design and implementation.

The project outcomes will be relevant to the following policies and initiatives:

  • Kyoto and Montreal protocols
  • World Summit on Sustainable Development, Global Earth Observation System of System initiative (GEOSS)
  • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
  • Environmental Technologies Action Plan (ETAP)


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