Student - November 1, 2007

Minister opens China office

Wageningen UR has appointed a permanent representative in Beijing, Dr Tan Shuhao. She is also the director of a new centre to promote cooperation between Dutch and Chinese knowledge institutes for food, nutrition, agriculture and environment. The Dutch minister of agriculture Gerda Verburg opened the office in Beijing on 22 October.

The Sino-Dutch Agricultural Innovation and Promotion Center is an initiative of the Dutch and Chinese ministries of agriculture. It has an office in the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) in Beijing. Director Tan received her PhD from Wageningen University in 2005, but that does not mean that Wageningen UR is the only institute that can make use of the centre, emphasises Jan Fongers, China relations manager at Wageningen UR. Other research institutions seeking a pied-à-terre in Beijing are also welcome so they can do research with a Chinese partner in food, agriculture or environment. Wageningen UR is responsible for coordinating the centre.

Alterra and the department of environmental sciences already had a representative in Beijing, who has already moved into the new China office, so there are now two permanent representatives of Wageningen UR in China. Fongers thinks that other parts of Wageningen UR will also need a representative in China in future.

Together with the CAAS and other partners, director Tan will set up new research programmes in agriculture, rural development and the environment. The focus will be on research done by PhD students. New forms of agriculture in urban areas was also the theme of the conference organised for the opening of the centre, which was attended not only by the Dutch and Chinese ministers of agriculture, but also the rector of Wageningen University Martin Kropff and his CAAS counterpart Shang Lijian.

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