Dr. Syed Aftab Wajid
Using quantitative methods to predict crop yield success in Pakistan.
Dr. Syed Aftab Wajid is an assistant professor in the Department of Agronomy at University of Agriculture, Faisalabad (UAF). His research interests focus on crop yield modeling and forecasting using satellite imaging and geospatial mapping, and he took full advantage of the opportunity provided by USPCAS-AFS.
Dr. Wajid spent much of his exchange learning from Dr. Robert Hijmans, associate professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy at UC Davis. Dr. Hijmans’ laboratory specializes in using quantitative methods to study crop ecology, agricultural biodiversity, and the societal effects of agricultural development. Much of Dr. Wajid’s studies focused on modeling scripts, with special attention paid to a statistical computing language known as “R”, which allows for a range of data manipulation, calculation, and graphical display.
“The R package was quite difficult at first, but after learning the interface, I could calibrate different parameters for various crops,” says Dr. Wajid.
Along with his experience in Dr. Hijmans’ lab, Dr. Wajid worked with university faculty from several different universities, including UC Davis, Stanford, and Columbia, to develop a curriculum plan which will integrate remote sensing techniques into his classes at UAF.
“Use of these new models and remote sensing techniques will bring revolutionary changes to our future agricultural production,” says Dr. Wajid. “My students will submit projects on these new techniques to forecast crop yields with the help of futuristic models and remotely sensed data.”
Dr. Wajid is planning to overhaul his own class curricula, further integrating modern statistical tools into both undergraduate and graduate courses at UAF. He wants to develop two new courses on data science and geospatial modeling, and plans to engage his students through hands-on learning and immersion techniques.
“My students will be guided to read the original papers and materials in advance, making easy discussion in the classroom. This will create awareness and educate them about climate anomalies, mitigation and adaptation with respect to crop growth and development.”
The U.S.-Pakistan Center for Advanced Studies (USPCAS) is educating and training the next generation of scientists, engineers, and policy makers through innovative academic programs crucial for Pakistan’s development in agriculture and food security. Through applied research, academia-industry collaboration, and policy formation, USPCAS enhances Pakistan’s economic growth and prosperity. USPCAS was made possible by support from the American people through United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
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Profile written by Levi McGarry.