N8 AgriFood leaders have been investigating areas of research collaboration with Chinese counterparts during a UK Department of Trade and Industry-led delegation to the China Agricultural Fair (CAF) in Yangling.
Professor Katherine Denby, (Academic Director) Jonathan Oxley, (Operations & Business Development Director), both at the University of York and Professor Steven Banwart, (Head of International Engagement) at the University of Leeds were guests of the UK Embassy and FCO Science and Innovation Network (SIN) in China.
During their visit to CAF, which attracted around 1.5 million visitors and 7,000 exhibitors, the three N8 AgriFood representatives met with the Chinese Science Academy to discuss future collaboration, as well as being part of the MOU signing ceremony between Innovate UK and the China Ministry of Science and Technology.
They also met with representatives from Shandong Agricultural University, the COFCO Nutrition and Health Research Institute and the Gansu Academy of Agricultural Sciences, who will be meeting N8 AgriFood representatives in the UK in December.
During the trip Steve Banwart visited the Zhejiang University Science Park in Hangzhou to learn of their interests in “green roof” research and urban farming; Katherine Denby visited Inner Mongolia Agricultural University in Hohhot to discuss potential collaborations around plant and livestock research; and Jonathan Oxley visited Chongqing to meet with representatives of the South West University and to tour a High-Tech Demonstration zone covering 17 km2 designated for agri-tech development.
Prof Denby said: “During the visit, it was clear there are a number of potential areas of collaboration, including on soil sensor technology, big data for precision agriculture and food safety – among others.
“We are now looking to develop these initial conversations with both research and translation partners in conjunction with the UK Embassy and the FCO Science and Innovation Network (SIN) in China and we look forward to building on the promising start with our new friends in Chinese AgriFood when they visit next month.”