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China and CIMMYT: new science agreement and support

Masa Iwanaga, CIMMYT Director General, visited the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) and had a fruitful meeting with Wang Jie, Vice President of NSFC. An agreement was signed with Han Jianguo, DG of the NSFC International Cooperation Department, for collaborative research between CIMMYT and Chinese scientists. Other key staff at the meeting included Bai Ge, DDG of the International Cooperation Department; Du Shengming, Executive DDG of the Life Science Department; NSFC scientists Zhang Yinglan, Luo Jing, and Zhang Yongtao; and He Zhonghu and Han Nanping from the CIMMYT-China office.

NSFC supports basic research in various disciplines. Applied and basic research in agriculture is conducted by the Life Science Department of NSFC, which seeks to improve the quality of science in China through international collaboration. NSFC has provided continuous support to China-CIMMYT collaborative research on wheat quality, the genetics of disease resistance in wheat and maize, and workshops and conferences, contributing more than US$ 300,000 over the last five years.

“The real value of the agreement is that the Chinese government provides us with money for science, through a merit-based selection process,” says Iwanaga. “Thanks to He Zhonghu’s efforts, we have this partnership. Now NSFC wants to formalize it through a memorandum of understanding that can serve as a model for their other contributions to the international science community.”

Research with China has resulted among other things in significant advances in the quality of Chinese wheat cultivars, and the CAAS-CIMMYT Wheat Quality Laboratory has become an internationally recognized center for wheat quality research. There is also good progress in understanding the genetics of resistance to yellow rust and powdery mildew in Chinese wheats.


Published in 2006