A new research centre led by University of Melbourne scientists aims to solve the challenges pollution and soil degradation poses to food production around the world.

The Australia-China Research and Development Centre for Soil Pollution and Remediation aims to deliver new solutions to existing challenges in sustainable agricultural management.

The Centre was established by the Yancheng city government, Jiangsu Province and the University of Melbourne-led Australia-China Joint Research Centre (JRC), Healthy Soils for Sustainable Food Production and Environmental Quality. Jiangsu Province is a sister state of Victoria.

This new JRC will also extend training of early and mid-career-researchers through bilateral study opportunities and build critical mass in areas of mutual strategic priority.

University of Melbourne researchers Deli Chen and Jim He will lead the centre. Professor Chen is also director of the Healthy Soils for Sustainable Food Production and Environmental Quality JRC.

“The Australia-China Research and Development Centre for Soil Pollution and Remediation will benefit greatly from the University of Melbourne’s research expertise in soil health and sustainable agriculture,” said Professor Chen.

Deli Chen and Li Qiang
Professor Deli Chen with Li Qiang, Chairman of Jiangsu People’s Congress and party secretary of Jiangsu province. Professor Chen met Mr Li at Jiangsu Development Summit in Nanjing, where Mr Li commended the new research centre.

“Producing enough food to provide for the world’s growing population while maintaining the health of the planet’s soils and environment is one of the grand challenges of the coming century. Improving soil health and the sustainability of agriculture are essential steps towards ensuring our societies are healthy, stable and sustainable into the future.

“This centre will also provide more opportunities for the next generation of researchers to develop their skills and careers internationally.”

This joint centre is located at the Yancheng Environmental Protection Science and Technology Park, Jiangsu Province, China.

The Yancheng government provided $4 million to fund this new soils Research and Development Centre.

The official launch and signing ceremony of the Australia-China Research and Development Centre for Soil Pollution and Remediation took place on the 19 May 2017 at the Yancheng Environmental Protection Science and Technology Park.

Representatives from the University of Melbourne, Oklahoma State University, Ministry of Agriculture of China, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Jiangsu Wisdom Engineering & Technology Co. Ltd. attended the launch.

Story by Stuart Winthrope. Banner image: Professor Deli Chen and Lu Wenzhong, Deputy Director of Supervision and Administration Commission of Yancheng Environmental Protection Science and Technology Park.