A statement of intent to establish a new coastal biotechnology research centre with bases in both Tauranga and China has been signed by the University of Waikato and Yantai Institute of Coastal Zone Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences.
The two institutions intend to establish the China-New Zealand Coastal Biotechnology Joint Research Centre, which would aim to integrate China and New Zealand's coastal biotechnology research experts. It would also aim to align more effectively administration sections, investors, industry and international businesses especially in China and New Zealand.
The Statement of Intent was signed in China early in April during a visit from a high powered business and education delegation from Tauranga including Mayor Stuart Crosby, University of Waikato Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Alister Jones and Chair in Coastal Science Professor Chris Battershill, Bay of Plenty Polytechnic chief executive Alan Hampton, Education Tauranga chairman Graeme Lind and others from the education sector.
The relationship between the University of Waikato and the Yantai Institute of Ocean Resources began in 2010 during the Tenth International Marine Biotechnology Symposium in Qin Dao, China, convened by Professor Song Qin.
Collaborations in marine biotechnology
Discussions were initiated about collaborations in marine biotechnology between China and New Zealand and those ideas were developed further at the 11th International Marine Biotechnology Symposium in Brisbane last year, with a tripartite Blue Biotechnology Forum amongst New Zealand, Australia and China being forged in order to facilitate opportunity in this sector.
Professor Song and Professor Battershill are heading the fledgling development between China and New Zealand.
The Centre’s research fields will focus on biomedicinal and agrichemical discovery and development, aquaculture, and environmental bioremediation and restoration.
It will establish a collaborative research network including government, industry, science and research and it is anticipated it will contribute to the growth and development of the coastal biotechnology industry, aquaculture industry and marine product processing industry in both cities.
Professor Jones says the statement of intent is the first step in developing the centre.
“Our Intercoast project (an initiative involving the University of Waikato and the University of Bremen) has been very successful and we anticipate this latest development will be just as successful.”
“The Yantai Institute of Ocean Resources and the University of Waikato are both world leaders in the area of marine-based research so I look forward to seeing what they can do when they work together.”
The University of Waikato has developed a multi-disciplinary approach to education and research, filling a niche in training that is being eagerly sought by national and international students.
The Intercoast project is a good example.
It examines human-environment interaction and sustainability issues in the coastal estate by exploring research in coastally relevant law, social science, marine science and environmental engineering.
Focus areas for the new centre will include Multi-Trophic Integrated Aquaculture, bioproduct and biofuel development.