Launch of Shanghai laboratory bolsters UK-China scientific collaboration
The Centre of Excellence for Plant and Microbial Science (CEPAMS) will be formally opened today in Shanghai by Jo Johnson MP, the UK Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation and the President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Bai Chunli.
The new facility will be one of two in China with dedicated state of the art laboratories in Beijing and Shanghai. CEPAMS will employ 10 senior scientists leading international groups of researchers investigating plant and microbial science to address global challenges in food security and human health.
Collaborative research to address the global challenge of food security will be supported in areas such as improving crop yields, decreasing the threat from crop pests and pathogens and reducing the need for artificial fertiliser. Sixteen research themes have already been funded in areas of shared scientific excellence. Research to improve human health includes two projects relating to the study of Chinese medicine.
Supported by BBSRC, one of the UK’s seven Research Councils and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. CEPAMS forms the basis of an international partnership between the world renowned UK bioscience research facility, The John Innes Centre and Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Science Minister Jo Johnson said: “Greater international collaboration is key to solving real-life tangible challenges we face around the world and this new centre is testament to our scientific partnership with China. It will bring together the brightest minds from the UK and China to improve crop production for the world’s growing populations and decrease the risks of pesticides in food production.”
Director of the John Innes Centre, Professor Dale Sanders, added: “CEPAMS is a partnership built on a strong historic connection between the JIC and CAS that dates back to JIC being among the first UK institutes to welcome Chinese researchers working abroad in the 1980s. Since then, many Chinese researchers have worked at JIC and over 100 Chinese alumni still cherish their affiliation with JIC. Today we are seeing our vision of a world class UK/China collaboration in plant and microbial sciences become a reality and I have no doubt that the excellent, world leading science delivered by this centre will make a huge impact on the big global challenges relating to food security and human health.“
Though the new facility is being opened today, many CEPAMS collaborations have already been established. A team of scientists based in the UK and in China, including JIC’s professor Cathie Martin, published important research on how the Chinese plant, Scutellaria Biacellensis produces a potentially valuable anti-cancer compound, paving the way to upscale production for medicinal use.
Prof Melanie Welham, CEO of BBSRC, added: “International collaboration is not only a crucial path forward for UK research and innovation but also an area where we are already clearly demonstrating impact. By working together at CEPAMS the UK and China can use our combined strengths and resources to address common research questions and to tackle major global challenges, far better than we can alone. This relationship delivers value and impact for both the UK and China.”
The first CEPAMS Group Leader, Yang Bai, took up his position in May 2016, joining from the world-renowned Max Plank Institute in Cologne. The Bai laboratory, housed within the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, investigates microbes associated with healthy plant growth.
The CEPAMS partnership was established in 2014 with funding from the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). It brings together three world-leading plant and microbial research institutes: the John Innes Centre (UK), the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology (Beijing) and the Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology (Shanghai).
Notes to editors
For further information please contact Jools Granville (see BBSRC contact below).
For further information about CEPAMS please contact Geraldine Platten (see external contact below).
Further information about the first CEPAMS paper on valuable compounds from Scutellaria Biacellensis please go to: www.jic.ac.uk/news/2016/04/scientists-discover-how-chinese-medicinal-plant-makes-anti-cancer-compound/
The CAS-JIC Centre of Excellence for Plant and Microbial Science (CEPAMS), which is based in China, brings together three world-leading laboratories from the UK and China to tackle the global challenges of food security and sustainable health care. CEPAMS nurtures excellent science and focuses on the improvement of food crops and the production of high-value, beneficial products from plants and microbes. The centre is a collaboration between the John Innes Centre and two institutes of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology and the Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology).
CEPAMS was established with funding from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).
BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.
Funded by government, BBSRC invested £473 million in world-class bioscience, people and research infrastructure in 2015-16. We support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.
Research Councils UK (RCUK) is the strategic partnership of the UK’s seven Research Councils. Our collective ambition is to ensure the UK remains the best place in the world to do research, innovate and grow business. The Research Councils are central to delivering research and innovation for economic growth and societal impact. Together, we invest £3Bn in research each year, covering all disciplines and sectors, to meet tomorrow’s challenges today. Our investments create new knowledge through: funding research excellence; responding to society’s challenges; developing skills, leadership and infrastructure; and leading the UK’s research direction. We drive innovation through: creating environments and brokering partnerships; co-delivering research and innovation with over 2,500 businesses, 1,000 of which are SMEs; and providing intelligence for policy making.
The seven UK Research Councils are:
- Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
- Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
- Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC)
- Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
- Medical Research Council (MRC)
- Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
- Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC)
About John Innes Centre
The John Innes Centre is an independent, international centre of excellence in plant science and microbiology.
Our mission is to generate knowledge of plants and microbes through innovative research, to train scientists for the future, to apply our knowledge of nature’s diversity to benefit agriculture, the environment, human health and wellbeing, and engage with policy makers and the public.
To achieve these goals we establish pioneering long-term research objectives in plant and microbial science, with a focus on genetics. These objectives include promoting the translation of research through partnerships to develop improved crops and to make new products from microbes and plants for human health and other applications. We also create new approaches, technologies and resources that enable research advances and help industry to make new products. The knowledge, resources and trained researchers we generate help global societies address important challenges including providing sufficient and affordable food, making new products for human health and industrial applications, and developing sustainable bio-based manufacturing.
This provides a fertile environment for training the next generation of plant and microbial scientists, many of whom go on to careers in industry and academia, around the world.
The John Innes Centre is strategically funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). In 2014-2015 the John Innes Centre received a total of £36.9M from BBSRC.
The John Innes Centre is the winner of BBSRC’s 2013 – 2016 Excellence With Impact award.
Tags: BEIS international UK-China innovation industrial biotechnology press release