Interview with CNRD Alumni Dr. Bhone Nay Htoon

Bhone Nay Htoon, Dr.rer.nat.

Bhone Nay Htoon, Dr.rer.nat.

We are happy to announce that ITT Alumni and CNRD stipendiary Bhone Nay Htoon, Dr.rer.nat., received his PhD degree. He concluded his doctoral research in 2015 and graduated the Dr.rer.nat. degree in January 2016. With the help of the CNRD scholarship program and the international master education in the program TERMA VN (Technology and Resources Management in the Tropics and Subtropics – Focus Vietnam), he got an excellent framework to study water resources management through a holistic approach considering both technical and socioeconomic problems of resources use with a focus on Vietnam. With his PhD, he joins the league of experts who are needed to deal with multiple problems of water resources management and who have knowledge of the practices of project funding and international cooperation.

To give an insight in his academic career, we got the chance to ask him some questions on his personal and professional development.

Please explain your focus during your studies at ITT:

Three years after my B.Agr.Sc graduation in 2010, I had the chance to join the International M.Sc. program TERMA VN at ITT, TH Köln, Germany, and Vietnam Academy for Water Resources. Water Resources has always been my area of interest and I was lucky to get financial support through a DAAD and CNRD scholarship. During my studies, I also did research focusing on irrigation water productivity in central Vietnam in the German Government funded international research project “Land Use and Climate Change Interaction” (LUCCi) at ITT. My M.Sc. thesis focused on economically and agronomically higher water use efficient rice production in Vietnam.

How did you benefit from your time and your degree at ITT?

ITT provided me with the chance to participate in cultural exchanges. I could stay one year in Vietnam and one year in Germany. Also, I got the chance to work for the LUCCi project, therefore, I’ve learned a lot on international project collaborations and international cultural exchanges. In terms of technical and theoretical knowledge, I got a very good understanding on how to approach a problem from a systematical point of view.

How did you proceed after your degree at ITT?

Soon after my M.Sc. at ITT, I was employed as a PhD. Student at University of Bayreuth, working for the DFG funded TERRECO project. I worked as scientific assistant for the Department of Agroecosystem Research, BayCEER, Uni Bayreuth, and Research assistant of Department of Plant Ecology, University of Bayreuth.

Please specify shortly the topic and the results of your PHD thesis

My PhD thesis is the follow up of my M.Sc. work of ITT, TH Köln. During my M.Sc., I worked on water use efficiency of rice from Agricultural economic and Agronomic perspectives. For my PhD, I worked on water use efficiency of rice from agronomic as well as ecosystem perspectives, by balancing crop yield, crop water use, carbon dioxide and the water cycle of agroecosystems. The main finding of the PhD study is that water saving rice production methods can save water but release significantly large amount of CO2 through soil and plan respiration process. On the other hand, conventional flooded paddy rice consumes a lot of water and emits CH4 gases, but very few CO2 was released through respiration processes. Therefore, to maintain higher agronomic water use efficiency (i.e., grian yield/water use) of rice with less negative ecosystem impacts (i.e., balanced green house gas emission, ecosystem carbon and water cycle), we need a detailed regional analysis of Greenhouse gas emission, trade-offs, water and carbon cycle trade-offs of different water saving rice production methods and conventional paddy rice production methods.