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MSU, China launch five-year partnership
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Two agricultural schools are planning to unite in their common goals despite being a world apart geographically.
A delegation from China's Jiangsu Academy of Agricultural Sciences recently visited Mississippi State University, and representatives from both universities discovered interests in many of the same fields of study. Administrators from the universities signed a five-year agreement “to foster international cooperation in education and research.”
Melissa Mixon, interim vice president for MSU's Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine, represented MSU.
“We see this as an opportunity to encourage academic and research cooperation with an international institution,” Mixon said. “We share interests in many of the same crops including rice, wheat, cotton and sweet potatoes. Both institutions are involved in similar research including food safety and monitoring technologies, animal and veterinary science, environment and resource management, and advancements in biotechnology.”
Five professors from Jiangsu Academy of Agricultural Sciences visited the off-campus sites of the Mississippi Veterinary Research and Diagnostic Laboratory in Pearl, the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station's truck crop unit in Crystal Springs, MSU's Central Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Raymond, and MSU's Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville. On campus, they visited the College of Veterinary Medicine, the Department of Poultry Science, and the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. They also met with representatives of other College of Agriculture and Life Science departments.
Jian-Zhong Sun, assistant professor of entomology with MSU's Coastal Research and Extension Center in Poplarville, was instrumental in forming the agreement. He worked at JAAS for 10 years before coming to the United States. Additionally, his wife, Xiaoxi Lu, continues to work there as a professor and vice president.
With her husband translating, Lu said the Chinese group hopes to accomplish three things: research collaboration, joint grants and an exchange-type educational program for students and faculty. Some agencies require an international component in research funding for competitive grants.
Sun said the delegation was impressed with MSU's advanced research facilities and world-class scientists.
“We hope this agreement will allow both institutions to address current worldwide challenges, such as global warming, food demand, food safety and other substantial problems both in basic and applied sciences,” he said.
Sun said JAAS looks forward to an MSU delegation visiting China soon to help move toward research ideas that will be mutually beneficial.