NZ and China confirm primary-sector research agreements

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce has welcomed the confirmation of three research collaborations with China.

China was an important and growing science and innovation partner for New Zealand, he said, and President Xi Jinping’s visit to this country last week had highlighted the strong science and innovation ties between the two countries.

A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between Lincoln University and Yili Industrial Group Ltd, a research collaboration agreement established between Auckland UniServices Ltd and Yashili International Company Ltd, and a kiwifruit virtual laboratory opened to build knowledge in new areas such as diseases and physiology.

The Lincoln/Yili MOU will focus on technological innovations in dairy, and specifically on improving the production and processing of dairy products in both countries.

The UniServices/Yashili collaboration agreement will see foodstuffs company Yashili contract UniServices to conduct strategic industry research via post-graduate and post-doctorate projects. Yashili is also considering co-locating its New Zealand-based research and development function at the University of Auckland’s specially purposed Institute for Innovation in Biotechnology.

The virtual kiwifruit laboratory is a collaboration between Plant and Food Research and the Sichuan Provincial Academy of Natural Resources Sciences, which will allow scientists to work more closely and share resources.

Research collaboration between New Zealand and China was growing rapidly, Joyce said, with deep partnerships being created through the Strategic Research Alliance projects and the Scientist Exchange Programme.

The Alliance was established in 2010 and leverages science and research investment from both countries for collaborative work programmes. The Exchange Programme annually provides for 10 scientists each from New Zealand and China to travel to each others’ countries for study visits.

In addition, the Joint Commission on Science and Technology meets every three years and is hosted alternately by New Zealand and China. The next meeting of the Commission will be in Wellington in 2015.

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