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Sino-Danish co-operation on sustainable food production

Research on sustainable food production brings scientists from Aarhus University and Nanjing Agricultural University in China closer together.

Associate professor Carl-Otto Ottosen has already taken the first steps towards the Sino-Danish University collaboration, in having taught at Nanjing Agricultural University in 2012. Photo: Carl-Otto Ottosen

In a world affected by climate change, population growth and increasing affluence there is a growing focus on food security and improved food production. The challenges will not be solved by individual institutions or countries alone. Instead, cooperation is required across national borders and academic disciplines.

This is what Aarhus University is doing on several fronts. Scientists from the Department of Food Science have just received a grant from the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation under the Danish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Higher Education to develop networks with Chinese scientists on sustainable food production.

The scientists from Aarhus University are collaborating with scientists from Nanjing Agricultural University.

- Both parties have been involved in research which improves food production, but our action areas and approaches to the subject differ, explains associate professor Carl-Otto Ottosen from Aarhus University.

- Our strength lies in plant physiology, while our Chinese colleagues work on genetics, so there is an opportunity here for synergy. There are also scientists in plant genetics at Aarhus University, but the strength in China is their considerable knowledge of vegetable genetics and their countless varieties, which offers opportunities for the development of more stress-tolerant varieties without the use of transgenic plant materials, says the associate professor from Aarhus University.

Danish-Chinese workshop
The new grant provides the opportunity for scientists to arrange a workshop. The purpose of this workshop is to exchange knowledge and strengthen the scientific co-operation between Aarhus University and Nanjing Agricultural University. The focus is on the genetic field with the view to producing vegetables of high quality and stress-tolerance in response to climate changes.

- We estimate that about five Danish and ten Chinese senior scientists will be the central actors and participate in the workshop which will be a combination of presentations and strategic discussions. The presentations will also be open to students, explains Carl-Otto Ottosen.

A secondary goal is to identify opportunities for Chinese PhD students to come to Denmark and carry out research. Carl-Otto Ottosen has already taught horticulture and physiology in Nanjing in 2012. A PhD course is planned for 2013 alongside the new networking project.

- On the course we will be able to identify the best students for knitting the cooperative effort together, says Carl-Otto Ottosen.

For further information please contact: Associate professor Carl-Otto Ottosen, Department of Food Science, email: co.ottosen@agrsci.dk, telephone: +45 8715 8373, mobile: +45 2290 3105