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Breeding to Optimise Chinese Agriculture

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China and EU collaborate over agriculture

A recent project has stimulated collaboration and dissemination in crop breeding and agricultural science between Chinese and European crop scientists. It also involved exchanges and short visits of Chinese students in European research institutions participating in the project.

Climate Change and Environment icon Climate Change and Environment

Modern agriculture is threatened by growing demands for fresh food, decreased availability of land and looming climate change. Collaboration between national research and breeding programmes is essential for us to meet this challenge. OPTICHINA (Breeding to optimise Chinese agriculture) was an EU-funded Coordination Action project that built on previous and ongoing collaborative research efforts between China and the EU. OPTICHINA focused specifically on research into breeding for stress resilience and sustainability of major crops. The specific aim was to support networks of European agricultural scientists working with China. The efforts will improve widespread adoption of existing knowledge and technologies. Project work was divided into eight sections, including the organisation of workshops, a website, publications, training fellowships and advanced courses. Chinese partners ran courses on molecular genetics, new breeding strategies, advanced statistics and bioinformatics. OPTICHINA also organised a number of workshops and conferences for both Chinese and European participants, mainly in China but also in Europe. The project awarded 24 fellowships for research exchanges and visits. In some cases these led to formal collaborations and memorandums of understanding between Chinese and EU research institutions. Finally, OPTICHINA researchers published more than 20 academic papers during the project's lifetime. In Journal of Integrative Plant Biology, two special issues on 2012 and one special issue on 2014, and one special issue in The Crop Journal (2015). OPTICHINA is expected to improve Euro-Chinese research relations in the long term. This will ensure that the challenges of modern crop science are addressed with a global perspective that integrates economic, political and societal dimensions.


Agriculture, crop breeding, , China, stress resilience, networking, dissemination

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