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Climate, soils, forests, agroecology and emerging viral diseases: INRA and its Chinese partners announce partnerships for excellence

During a visit to China by the French President and the Ministers of Agriculture and Research, Philippe Mauguin, President of INRA, signed several agreements on 10 January 2018 in Beijing to strengthen partnerships for excellence with INRA’s Chinese partners. These new international associated laboratories (LIAs) will join ECOLAND, launched in 2015 by INRA and Sun Yat-sen University (SYSU) in Guangzhou. This LIA already has several projects underway on environmental remediation and related ecosystem services. These partnerships are right in line with the “Franco-Chinese Year of the Environment” announced recently by the French and Chinese presidents during their meeting.

Updated on 01/22/2018
Published on 01/22/2018

The partnerships deal with a variety of major scientific themes:  

 • Forest health with Beijing Forestry University (BFU)
Plans are in the works to create an international associated laboratory (LIA) for invasive diseases affecting biodiversity in forest ecosystems in autumn 2018. Between now and then, INRA’s Forest Zoology Research Unit (Orléans) and the Chinese control laboratory for forestry diseases (Beijing) are working to deepen their scientific collaboration.
Joint research efforts include developing a strategy to plant sentinel trees in China and France as a prediction tool to forecast potential insect invasions in Europe and China. Studies of ecological and molecular mechanisms, biological invasions and comparative analyses of invasive insect pathways in Europe and China will also be conducted.
The two partners also signed a Memorandum of Cooperation to develop joint training and research projects for forest health, sentinel trees, soil biodiversity, water and desertification. Efforts will include scientist exchanges as well as sharing information, co-directing theses, scientific projects, etc.

 • Soil, agroecology and climate with China Agricultural University (CAU)
Numerous exchanges have already taken place between China Agricultural University and INRA, particularly for European research projects. The agreement in principle that was signed sets out the creation of an international associated laboratory (LIA) on soil, agroecology and climate. Other topics of mutual interest, such as livestock manure management and animal health, could also lead to further collaborations.

 • Soil, agroecology and climate, wheat breeding and integrated pest management with the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS)
The Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and INRA will host a scientific workshop in the spring of 2018 to discuss the following themes and decide which will result in future joint research platforms (such as LIAs):
- wheat breeding and integrated pest management
- soil, agroecology and climate
- health and safety of agricultural and food products from the meat and dairy industries
- bovine reproduction, meat quality and processing

 • Partnership with the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)

This agreement renews the framework agreement initially signed in July 2013 for a second five-year period.
The Chinese Academy of Sciences and INRA will also be organising a scientific workshop in the spring of 2018 to give scientists an opportunity to discuss ecological transitions for sustainable agriculture, plant and animal health, genomics, soil and climate. The aim will be to identify themes for a joint call for projects.

 • Emerging zoonotic viral diseases with the Institut Pasteur in Shanghai, associated with the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)
An international associated laboratory (LIA) is planned for emerging zoonotic viral diseases, with a particular focus on arboviruses.

 ▪ Through its Joint Research Unit for Soils and the Environment (INRA and the Université de Lorraine), INRA and the Sun Yat-sen University (SYSU) launched a first Franco-Chinese international associated laboratory, LIA ECOLAND, in 2015. The research partnership, which worked on the remediation of contaminated soils and related ecosystems, was very positive. It has supported a number of projects as well as the scientist and student exchanges. The theme of recycling and soils will be addressed during the annual review for this LIA.

These projects have helped to solidify the ambitions set out during meetings with Philippe Mauguin and the abovementioned partners in Beijing and Shanghai in December 2017.

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