Communications & Media

Agricultural research at heart of new partnership with China

A series of agreements signed this week represents a new era of agricultural research cooperation between Tasmania and China.

The agreements formalise the relationship between the University of Tasmania and the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), the preeminent agricultural sciences organisation in China.

Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Mike Calford said agriculture was a field that increasingly demanded a global approach.

“There are few areas of research that are as vital to our futures as agriculture, which sees us grappling with issues as elemental as our very survival,” Professor Calford said.

“It is only together that we can answer questions as big as how to sustainably feed the world’s growing population.

“This partnership provides us with a framework to meet the challenges we face using all the combined expertise and effort we can bring to bear.”

Four agreements were signed on Monday:

  • a Memorandum of Understanding between the University and CAAS,
  • an MOU between the University and Natural Resource Management South (NRMS),
  • an MOU between NRMS and CAAS, and
  • a cotutelle, or joint degree, agreement between the University and CAAS’ genomic research institute.

The MOU between the University and CAAS allows for future joint research activities, joint scholarly and teaching activities, staff and student exchanges, and professional development.

Signing the agreements on behalf of his institution was Professor Tang Huajun, President of CAAS, who is leading the most significant Chinese delegation to visit Tasmania since Chinese President Xi Jingping’s official visit in 2014.

University of Tasmania Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Global) Professor Monique Skidmore said it was conversations that began during President Xi’s visit that led to the new agreements.

“The partnerships we enter into today, and how they were formed, highlight just how important it is to be a part of the local and the global community,” Professor Skidmore said.

“It was NRMS, with whom we have a strong and ongoing relationship, who initiated talks with CAAS during President Xi’s visit and we’ve worked together to get to the point we’re at today.

“These agreements are built on the University’s reputation in agricultural research and education, and our strengths in internationally collaborative research.”

The University of Tasmania is home to the internationally-renowned Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture, ranked among the top 50 agricultural research institutes in the world for agricultural sciences.

CAAS has oversight of 42 research institutions, with over 5000 professional staff and a graduate school of 4300 students.

The University has had a long and positive relationship with China, beginning with the first Chinese students arriving in 1979. Since that time, Tasmania has established a network of partnerships in China for collaboration in research and teaching. In 2017, more than 2400 Chinese students studied at the University of Tasmania.

Published on: 28 Nov 2017 10:22am