22 July, Mark Field, Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, UK, toured the Centre of Excellence for Plant and Microbial Science (CEPAMS) which was jointly established by the UK’s John Innes Centre (JIC) and two Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) institutions. ZHANG Yaping, Vice-President of CAS, hosted the visit.
Minister Mark Field (right) met CAS Vice-President ZHANG Yaping (left) at CEPAMS.
The Minister celebrated the Golden Era of China-UK relations and highlighted the priority of science and innovation therein. He described CEPAMS as a wonderful example of China-UK collaboration and pointed to the potential of CEPAMS to improve the lives of countless millions of people in China, in the UK and globally through its work on food security and health.
CAO Xiaofeng, Co-Director of CEPAMS explained the progress of work to unlock the potential of traditional Chinese medicinal herbs to the Minister.
CEPAMS has launched 22 collaborative research projects on crop improvement and natural products between CAS and JIC since 2014. 15 papers, arising from CEPAMS collaborations have been published in different international leading journals, such as Science Advances, PNAS and Molecular Plant.
Six young outstanding scientists trained in different internationally renowned institutions have been recruited as CEPAMS group leaders and have established their labs at either the Institute of Plant Physiology & Ecology (SIPPE) in Shanghai or at the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology (IGDB) in Beijing since 2016.
XU Cao, one of the CEPAMS group leaders, said that CEPAMS is an excellent platform for the very best young scientists. Benefiting from the international reputations of JIC and CAS, scientists in CEPAMS are able to communicate and collaborate with outstanding scientists worldwide.
CEPAMS group leader, XU Cao (Left), introducing tomato domestication to the Minister.
The Minister was impressed by the cutting-edge research in CEPAMS. In Dr. XU’s lab, the Minister discussed the scientific strategies to address global challenges such as climate change and increasing human population. Dr. XU explained the exciting advances from his lab, such as accelerated re-domestication of wild plants into nutritious and climate smart crops.
CEPAMS has been a leading example of the benefits achieved from bringing together UK and Chinese expertise in scientific research to tackle the global challenges of food security and sustainable health care.
“I truly hope that the Minister’s visit will improve the mutual understanding and promote the cooperation between Chinese and British scientific communities,” said ZHANG Yaping.