A new UK-Chinese collaboration aimed at boosting plant science will be officially opened this weekend.
The Centre of Excellence for Plant and Microbial Science (CEPAMS) in Shanghai is being opened by Jo Johnson, the UK minister for universities, science, research and innovation.
CEPAMS is a partnership between the UK’s John Innes Centre and two institutes of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), and the launch is being billed as a major step forward in scientific relations between the two countries.
The new facility will be one of two in China, with dedicated state-of-the-art laboratories in Beijing and Shanghai. CEPAMS will employ 10 project leaders heading international groups of researchers investigating plant and microbial science.
Collaborative research to address the global challenge of food security will be supported in areas such as improving crop yields, decreasing the threat from crop pests and pathogens and reducing the need for artificial fertiliser. Some 16 research themes have already been funded in areas of shared scientific excellence.
Director of the John Innes Centre, Professor Dale Sanders, said: “CEPAMS is a partnership built on a strong historic connection between the JIC and CAS that dates back to JIC being among the first UK institutes to welcome Chinese researchers working abroad in the 1980s. Since then, many Chinese researchers have worked at JIC and over 100 Chinese research alumni still cherish their affiliation with JIC.
“We are seeing our vision of a world-class UK-China collaboration in plant and microbial sciences become a reality and I have no doubt that the outstanding, world-leading science delivered by this centre will make a huge impact on the big global challenges relating to food security and human health.”