N8 AgriFood and the Jiangsu Academy of Agricultural Sciences (JAAS) sign Memorandum of Understanding

Nanjing, 26 June 2019

Technology transfer and knowledge exchange across the agri-food sector is to be supported by a new partnership between the UK and China as N8 AgriFood teams up with a Chinese agricultural academy to launch a new Research and Innovation Centre.

N8 AgriFood has today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Jiangsu Academy of Agricultural Sciences (JAAS), to support the establishment of the new centre.

The N8 AgriFood-JAAS Research and Innovation Centre will be a joint platform for supporting knowledge generation and technology transfer across the agri-food sector, covering food production, supply chains and processing to consumption and nutrition. 

Over the next four years, the centre will provide training for researchers through bilateral exchanges, collaborative projects and workshops, and will also facilitate the commercialisation of agri-food technology in both the UK and China. The N8 AgriFood-JAAS Research and Innovation Centre will work alongside a similar initiative between JAAS and Nottingham University. 

Professor Katherine Denby, academic director of the N8 AgriFood programme, said: “The power of N8 AgriFood is the breadth and depth of expertise we bring together to tackle challenges within our food system, whether these are challenges of production, supply or consumption. 

“Bringing eight universities together gives us a strong base to develop international partnerships, such as this centre with JAAS.

“This is an exciting initiative which opens up opportunities for new research collaboration as well as significant potential for driving economic growth in Jiangsu and the North of England.”

The signing of the MoU follows a partnership building mission to China earlier this year, which saw a team of nine N8 AgriFood representatives, including academics from the Universities of Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield and York, meeting with Chinese agri-tech academies, researchers, district local governments and agri-tech innovators. 

N8 AgriFood has been actively engaging with various Chinese stakeholders with the support of the Beijing FCO Science and Innovation Network since 2016, working in close collaboration with CRTDC (China Rural Technology Development Council). The programme hosted two delegations from China in 2017 and 2018, resulting in collaborations across Theme 1 of N8 AgriFood’s work; Sustainable Food Production.

The aim of the 2019 visit in March, which coincided with a mission of 16 SMEs led by Innovate UK, and a group of researchers from the Universities of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent, was to reinforce relations with Theme 1 partners, and also find collaboration partners in China for N8 AgriFood’s Theme 2 (Resilient Supply Chains) and Theme 3 (Improved Consumption and Health).

N8 AgriFood researchers who participated in the N8 AgriFood mission to China in March, together with JAAS researchers, have identified a set of joint projects which will be developed over the coming months. The MoU provides a strong framework for these initial collaborations and a mechanism to expand joint working across the agri-food remit.