Dr Valerie J. Smith 17.02.53 – 02.05.19

Val Smith photo 3


In May 2019 the PaConDAA team were deeply saddened to learn of the untimely passing of our friend and colleague Dr Valerie Smith. Valerie had dedicated her career to comparative immunology and, in particular, creating an improved mechanistic understanding of the crustacean immune system.

Her early work on the crustacean prophenoloxidase enzyme system transformed the way in which invertebrate immune systems were viewed and precipitated a new wave of research in the field, much of which underpinned the approach taken by the PaConDAA team as we seek to develop mechanistic insights into host virus interactions in cultured crustaceans. Her contributions to our project and the wider field of research will persist long into the future.

Chingri shrimp app

The PaConDAA team are pleased to announce the launch of a new mobile phone app – the Chingri Shrimp App which can be downloaded from the GooglePlay store.


Chingri app

This Bengali mobile phone app, which has been developed through the PaConDAA collaboration between ICAR-CIBA and Bangladesh Agricultural University, with the support of the University of Southampton allows farmers to directly access the latest Management Practice advice for shrimp farming, from pond preparation and maintenance of water quality, through to stocking and grow out and includes information on disease diagnosis and control. The app includes a pond calculator to assist with the addition of pond treatments and a free text query form so that farmers can post questions to CIBA scientists in India for direct answer.

This app has been based on the globally successful CIBA Vanami Shrimp App, which is also available from the GooglePlay Store.


Vanami shrimp app


Farmer interaction workshops in Bangladesh

In April 2019 members of the PaConDAA team from the UK and India joined colleagues in Bangladesh to run sensitization workshops on Better Management Practices for carp and shrimp farming. The week of events started at Bangladesh Agricultural University in Mymensingh where approximately 40 farmers and other delegates from Mymensingh and Rajshahi received advice and updates on fish farming.


After this first workshop the team travelled south to Khulna in southern Bangladesh where a second workshop was held with shrimp farmers, academics and students – again with the purpose of disseminating the latest best advice on shrimp farming. This second day was attended by approximately 80 delegates.



During this second workshop the PaConDAA team presented the official launch of the PaConDAA-funded Chingri Shrimp App https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.app.vanami&hl=en_GB

Chingri app

This phone app is based on the highly successful CIBA Vanami Shrimp App https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.vanami.shrimpapp&hl=en_GB .

Vanami shrimp app


Our Bengali mobile phone app, which can be downloaded from the GooglePlay store provides shrimp farmers with the latest advice and recommendations on shrimp culture to their mobile phones, pond-side.

It includes advice on pond preparation and water treatment, stocking density and the diagnosis of typical infectious diseases. It also provides a ‘pond calculator’ to support the management of pond conditions before and during grow out. The platform also provides a free-text query form in which farmers can post questions relating to their crop performance, questions that will be answered by CIBA scientists in India within 48 hours. Using this disruptive technology it is hoped that farmers in remote locations will benefit from the latest advice at the pond side to help improve their crop performance during grow out.


PaConDAA at BRAQCON 2019

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January 2019 saw UK team members join the PaConDAA team in India and Dr M.A. Salam from Bangladesh Agricultural University at the inaugural BRAQCON conference held at ICAR-CIBA in Chennai. This 4-day meeting started with a Farmer’s Conclave on the first day, during which we learnt from Indian fish and shrimp farmer’s who had proven success over many years of crop culture, many working in close collaboration with ICAR scientists throughout India. Thereafter, an international delegation of speakers reported variously on Aquaculture Production Systems, Reproduction and Larviculture, Quality Standards, Aquatic Animal Health, Genetics and Biotechnology, Environment and Climate Change, Biodinversity and Consevration, and Socioeconomic Issues.

Carp farmer training workshops in Maharajganj, Gorakhpur, UP

From 14th-20thDecember colleagues from the Universities of Southampton, Aberdeen, Liverpool and Bangladesh Agricultural University joined Drs Sood, Pradhan, and Dev from the National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources (NBFGR) to host a fish farming training workshop in Maharajganj. After an overnight train from Lucknow to Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh and then a two hour car journey on to Mahrajganr we met with ~ 100 shrimp farmers. At this workshop Prof Kenton Morgan presented his findings on disease outbreaks synthesised from a retrospective epidemiological survey of farmers within the district. Thereafter, Dr Pradhan provided information and guidance to local farmers and fishery officers on ‘better management practice’ for fish farming.


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Project dissemination and impact activities

Drs Sergei Shubin and Tanjil Sowgat from Swansea University have been supporting community engagement of the PaConDAA project through art-based workshops with a local school in Wales and as part of the Swansea Science Festival – to share Bangladeshi children’s poverty experiences with children in Swansea.

They have also co-produced and shared two short video produced to explain how they have used art as a way for participants to communicate and represent their experiences of poverty – this was shared with participants in Bangladesh:

Creative Community Engagement: Art, Interactive Learning, Empowerment

Swansea University – PACONDAA Project

Using the pictures drawn during our art workshops, both in Bangladesh and in a Swansea school they have produced postcards showing experiences of poverty in both locations side by side- these will be distributed amongst the participating children and their schools and include links to the Swansea project website.

Swansea University have collaborated with internationally-acclaimed and young Bangladeshi artists to share experiences of the oft-overlooked poor internationally, and PaConDAA received Research as Art 2018 award (Swansea/BBC) for these activities:


Working with stories told by Bangladeshi children and an illustrator we are co-producing a children’s book to be distributed across the field-sites and in the UK to disseminate the circumstances and experiences of poverty in India and Bangladesh with a wider audience.



Award for outstanding contribution to the culture and society

The PACONDAA impact activities conducted in Bangladesh have been recognized highly. We are happy to post that Research & Innovation Awards 2018 is now announced by Swansea University and our PACONDAA project activities got the award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Arts, Culture, and Society’.
This unique event gave us the opportunity to disseminate among 300 invited guests, our findings from fieldwork and exhibit our works from Bangladesh. Invited guests in that prestigious event highly acknowledged the aim of the PACONDAA project and appreciated the commitment of the project towards the deprived and poor communities in Bangladesh and India.
Credit goes to all the team members for their kind and continuous support and commitment to this project.
Our team members at the Research & Innovation Awards 2018