The first month of 2018 finds the international team of N8 AgriFood building on the partnerships established in 2017. Priority countries for cooperation include China, USA, Argentina as well as reaching out to our European counterparts. The N8 AgriFood programme endeavours to integrate a development angle it its international research, so our work also tries to make a difference to smallholder farmers in South-East Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America.
We’ve had some significant progress in recent months with our collaborations in China and the USA. For 2018 we aim to increase the opportunities for direct scholarly interactions between our N8 academics and their Chinese and American counterparts, carve out specific project actions and inform Sino-UK and US-UK agritech science and innovation policies.
Following a visit from CRTDC (China Rural Technology and Development Council) to York in October 2017, N8 AgriFood representatives returned the visit and met both with CRTDC and CNHDR (China National Health Development Research Centre) in Beijing in November. With the support of FCO’s Science and Innovation Network in Beijing and in line with the 2016 signed MoU between UK and China on science and innovation co-operation, the following areas have been agreed where N8 AgriFood and CRTDC working together can make a significant contribution: Food and Human Nutrition (Theme 3) , Livestock farming (Theme 1), Aquaculture and Plant and Soil Health (Theme 1).
For 2018 we are planning scholar exchanges of N8 AgriFood projects that already have, or wish to become involved in, research with Chinese counterparts. We are also hoping to welcome Chinese researchers back in the UK for a joint workshop in 2019.
Building upon the successful visit to Minneapolis and the World Food Prize in Des Moines in October 2017, we aim to establish closer links in 2018 to US institutions in the midwest region. During the visit and discussions with US-based colleagues, N8 AgriFood identified the following priority areas for cooperation: crop improvement and agronomy, water management, animal breeding and sustainable intensification.
For 2018 we are planning targeted visits of N8 AgriFood experts to the identified US institutions. We aim this visit to be inclusive and to invite as many new researchers from N8 institutions as possible.
Thus the N8 AgriFood programme will have the opportunity to build and maintain strategic contacts with these institutions. It will also allow the programme to play a role in strengthening relations with industry on both sides of the Atlantic.