State Key Laboratory of CUHK Pioneers Research in Agrobiotechnology
The State Key Laboratory of Agrobiotechnology (The Chinese University of Hong Kong) was officially opened today (December 13). Professor Wan Gang, Vice-Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and Minister of Science and Technology; Mr Zhan Yongxin, Deputy Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the HKSAR; Mr Li Ling, Deputy Director General of Education, Science and Technology Department of Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the HKSAR; Mr Gregory So Kam Leung, Under Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development; Professor Sun Qixin, Vice President of the China Agricultural University; and Professor Lawrence J. Lau, Vice-Chancellor of CUHK, officiated at the plaque unveiling ceremony.
Approved by the Ministry of Science and Technology of the People’s Republic of China, the State Key Laboratory of Agrobiotechnology (CUHK) is the second state key laboratory at CUHK, following the establishment of the State Key Laboratory in Oncology in South China (CUHK) in 2006. The national-level laboratory was established with the mission of up-scaling China’s agricultural technology to the world frontier to increase agricultural productivity, safeguard food security in China, and improve people’s nutrition. It will tap into Hong Kong’s advantages in global networking, international human resources and modern management, and the mainland’s strengths in economy, research capacity and abundant natural resources.
At the plaque-unveiling ceremony, Minister Wan Gang congratulated CUHK on the establishment of the Laboratory. He believes the Laboratory would further enhance exchange between scientists in Hong Kong and the mainland, and encourage collaborative research efforts. He said that the country attaches great importance to its agricultural development and strives to enhance its agricultural technology. In face of the current financial crisis, it is increasingly important to introduce advanced agricultural technology to the villages in order to improve the yield and quality of crops, which will help to raise the standard of living of the people. Minister Wan praised CUHK for its solid foundation in research, strong research team and state-of-the-art laboratory facilities. With these advantages, he is confident that the collaboration between CUHK and the China Agricultural University will prosper and bring more contributions to mankind.
Professor Lawrence J. Lau is pleased to see the establishment of the second state key laboratory at CUHK. ‘The Chinese University has once again gained state approval to establish a state key laboratory here in Hong Kong. This is evidence of not only the state’s commendation on and recognition of our many research endeavours, but also the University’s success in spearheading the advancement in agrobiotechnology,’ said Professor Lau.
The State Key Laboratory of Agrobiotechnology (CUHK) is housed in the complex comprising the Science Centre and the Centralized Science Laboratories Building. The laboratory is directed by Professor Samuel Sun Sai Ming, a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and director of the University Grants Committee – Areas of Excellence Centre for Plant and Agricultural Biotechnology of CUHK since 2000. Taking pride in the establishment of the SKL, Professor Sun said, ‘This is an eloquent testimony to the fact that our efforts and achievements in agrobiotechnology are acknowledged and recognized by the country. By teaming up with the best agricultural university in China, we can complement each other and maximize our respective strengths for the best results.’
CUHK and China Agricultural University (CAU), both leaders in agrobiotechnology, have developed a long cooperative relationship, thereby laying a solid cornerstone for the laboratory. Under the auspices of Commerce and Economic Development Bureau, Education Bureau and Innovation and Technology Commission of the Hong Kong SAR Government, the laboratory will carry out research in collaboration with CAU on the development of molecular biotechnology, increase of rice yield, improvement of the nutritive value of rice and crop resistance.
According to Professor Sun, plant biotechnology plays a pivotal role in ensuring food safety in the world. He envisages that the combination of traditional wisdom of farmers and breeders and modern biotechnology would help develop new rice varieties with improved yield and nutritive value. Since rice is the staple food of half of the world population today, studies that can stabilize rice supply are of vital importance and global concern. The State Key Laboratory will strive to improve the well-being of tens of millions of the Chinese population and actively promote cooperation between the mainland and Hong Kong on scientific advancement.