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SCITECH EUROPA: UK-China Partnering Award: working together in agri-tech innovation and crop research
Contact person: Release date: 2018-04-18

The Earlham Institute (EI), UK, and the Nanjing Agricultural University (NAU), China, have established a long-term partnership to develop advanced resources and expertise in advanced agri-tech innovation and crop research – funded by the BBSRC International Partnering Award.


Modern agriculture is looking to technology to ensure that the increased demand for food worldwide is met. However, there are technical limitations to how much events in the laboratories can be connected to those in the field. Both EI and NAU will co-operate to address these limitations by working together in agri-tech innovation.

EI and NAU will aim to improve crop production through the advanced monitoring of crops in fields. EI will provide newly developed crop surveillance robots and machine-learning based analysis software such as:

l  CropQuant;

l  SeedGerm; and

l  AirSurf.

l  Whilst NAU provides large-scale agri-tech equipment such as:

l  LiDAR;

l  Hyper-spectral imaging sensors;

l  UAVs; and

l  Light aircraft.

During the collaboration, NAU will have access to EI’s high-tech genome sequencing and synthetic biology platforms, while EI research groups will be able to access and use NAU’s wheat germplasm and crop breeding pipelines.


What is the aim of the research?

l  One of the main outcomes of the collaboration will be the development of research programmes in:

l  Crop phenotyping;

l  Precision farming;

l  Crop genetics; and

l  Rice and wheat breeding, focusing on solving problems in agri-food and precision agriculture.

EI project lead, Dr Ji Zhou, said: “This award provides an exciting and valuable opportunity for both EI and NAU. More widely, knowledge exchange between two global centres of excellence in next-generation phenotyping and genomics will improve best practice in two rapidly advancing fields of crop research in the UK, China and beyond.”

The partnership between the UK and China is important so that golbal challenges in crop growth and development, environmental stresses and disease resistance can be addressed to benefit the wider scientific community.

NAU lead Professor Yan-feng Ding, added: “We are gratified to initiate the establishment of a formal research collaboration between Nanjing Agricultural University (NAU) and the Earlham Institute (EI) through BBSRC’s UK-China partnering award. Our collaboration in crop phenotyping and other crop related research will aim to jointly promote and lead the phenomics research in wheat and rice globally, which will also push forward the integration of biological sciences and the latest information technologies. NAU is confident that this collaboration will serve as a model for many other China-UK scientific and technological collaborative projects, contributing to the golden age of China-UK relationships.”


Link to the Paper: https://www.scitecheuropa.eu/uk-china-agri-tech-innovation/85558/

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