General Information

A5: Knowledge, Training, and Education for Sustainable  Agriculture and Food Systems

Many of today’s global challenges have a high priority on international agendas. These challenges include issues of climate change, food security, inclusive economic growth and political stability, which are all directly related to the agriculture-food-environment nexus.

Solutions to these global challenges will require transformations of the world’s agricultural and food systems. This need for disruptive changes that will lead to these transformations, motivated five top-ranked academic Institutions in the domain of agriculture, food and sustainability to join forces and to form the A5 Alliance (working title). The A5 founding members - China Agricultural University, Cornell University, University of California Davis, University of Sao Paulo, and Wageningen University & Research - are recognized globally for their scientific knowledge, research expertise, teaching and training in sustainable agriculture and food systems.

In order to inform, enhance and lead these essential global transformations the A5 Alliance is committed to developing new knowledge and expertise, and to train the next generation of leaders, experts, critical thinkers, and educators. This is expressed by our vision: 

Sustainable Transformation of Agriculture and Food Systems

We commit ourselves to a common mission:  

Advanced Knowledge, Education and Training for Future Leaders in

Sustainable Agri- Food Systems

Ambitions of A5

It is our collective responsibility to enable academic institutions to become more adaptive and agile to societal changes. Therefore, our ambitions are:

  • to expand our collaborative research activities
  • to educate, train and deliver the next generation of experts and leaders in sustainable agri-food systems
  • to be a global partner in the research and policy arena, and to develop into a globally recognized independent and unbiased Think Thank
  • to be a global advocacy voice for the role and position of universities in the public debate.


Our strategies and activities

A5’s scientific expertise is tremendous and highly complementary. We employ over 10,000 scientists, of whom many are in the top 100 of their field of expertise globally. Many of our scientists are involved in teaching at all academic levels. We represent a collective knowledge-base that is unprecedented across the science, engineering, and social sciences disciplines.

Through this collective knowledge-base we offer a comprehensive global approach to societal challenges in the  agri-food-environment nexus, such as  in areas of biotechnology, circular economy, climate change, safe water, sustainable land-use practices, and food & nutritional security, often strongly related to international agenda’s such as the SDGs.

Examples of transformational topics  that A5 intends to work on include the management, synthesis and analysis of huge data streams (big data) in the agriculture and food, developing and introducing automation and robotics in agriculture, sustainable intensification of agro-food production, reducing food waste and climate smart agriculture. We invite our partner stakeholders to collaborate with us in creating the transformative changes that are needed to adapt to the changing needs in the agriculture and food domain.

  • Collaborative research

We will set up a research platform that facilitates and enhances collaboration between A5 partners, as well as with other academic and research institutions, enabling joint research projects and programs.

  • Training and education

We will develop joint education and curriculum activities, including E-learning, and collaborative on-line platforms, joint course work (including across-A5 learning experiences, such as internships), summer schools, and student and teacher exchanges. In addition, we will enhance the human and institutional capacity of higher education, especially in developing countries.

  • Independent and unbiased Think Thank

We will write white papers on topical areas that bring new perspectives on the ‘global view of sustainable agriculture and food’ and organize activities and convene events that discuss and highlight the necessary agro-food transformations. Examples are conferences or “executive” workshops for policy-makers, research institutions, industries, NGOs and academia, with a focus on awareness, engagement, and knowledge sharing and co-creation.

  • Advocacy

We will play a pro-active role in raising awareness of the fundamental role of agriculture and food in addressing global challenges of poverty reduction, sustainable natural resource use and food and nutrition security.  A5 will strive for university research to be a trusted resource for the general public.