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Ag biotech research to grow from Alberta-China collaboration


Harbin, China – New research into plant and animal traits and new opportunities to commercialize technologies may take root from the exchange of ideas between agricultural biotechnology researchers on two continents.

A joint Alberta-China workshop on May 17 and 18 was the first time scientists from the University of Alberta, University of Calgary, Alberta Research Council and China’s five top agricultural research institutes met in such a coordinated and large-scale fashion in this area of research. Partnerships made during the workshop may lay the groundwork for future opportunities for Chinese and Alberta specialists to move forward together both at the front line of discovery and in the first forays into commercial markets for advanced technologies for the value-added agricultural sector.

Doug Horner, Minister of Advanced Education and Technology, opened the workshop as part of a week-long mission to increase awareness of Alberta’s world-class capacity for research, technology and the development of highly skilled workers. Speaking from Harbin, the capital of Alberta’s sister province Heilongjiang, China, he said: “Alberta is home to more than 160 biotech companies, associations and research organizations. This workshop builds on the research strengths of both provinces for a common purpose-developing agricultural solutions such as higher-yielding crops that may lead to new business opportunities in the global bioeconomy.”

The workshop provided a platform for more than 60 scientists, researchers, doctoral students and industry experts from Alberta and China to exchange research and technology development information in plant, animal and food biotechnology, discuss areas for future collaboration, and develop a base for commercial partnerships with industry.