The Joint UK-China Centre for the Sustainable Intensification of Agriculture (CSIA) is led by Rothamsted Research and the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) and provides an open platform for research, capacity building and knowledge exchange between the UK and China. A further select group of Chinese organisations contributing to the science of sustainability in agriculture are involved as associate partners. These currently include the China Agriculture University (CAU); Nanjing Agricultural University (NAU) and Northwest Agriculture & Forestry University (NWAFU).
CSIA will link existing research efforts and actively engage in new collaborative research; focused on four main research areas:
Crop efficiency: accelerating yield potential, resource efficiency and other aspects of crop performance through discovery and utilisation of novel traits in molecular plant breeding, breakthroughs in crop physiology, and novel crop production systems and practices.
Soil management: understanding and exploiting soil biological, chemical and physical interactions for improving soil quality, nutrient and water use efficiency in intensive agriculture.
Next-generation integrated pest, disease and weed management: real-time management of crop diseases, insects and weeds in intensive systems, including resistance management.
Modeling agricultural innovation, practice and policy: novel modeling approaches and tools for understanding agricultural systems and evaluating technology and policy roadmaps for sustainable intensification in agriculture.
CSIA will contribute to training of the next generation of students with each focus area supporting joint UK-China PhD students. Student projects will be part of larger, more inter-disciplinary research clusters, thus enabling group training programmes and exposure to a wider knowledge base. CSIA will develop and host a series of meetings alternating between China and the UK, including annual scientific meetings; student training schools and an International Conference on Sustainable Intensification Solutions for Agriculture.
Knowledge exchange and commercialisation:
CSIA has a clear remit to deliver its research findings to policy makers in both in the UK and China as well as on the international stage through the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. CSIA will also engage in activities to ensure that product development occurs through industry connections and that research outcomes are translated effectively to the public and private sectors alike, including extending knowledge to farmers, agricultural extension workers and agribusiness.
CSIA launched in the autumn of 2015 with initial funding secured from the Newton Fund, BBSRC, CAAS and Rothamsted Research. Active bids for further funding are already in place relating to all four research areas.