Professor Yong-Ling Ruan from the School of Environmental and Life Sciences is Director of the Australia-China Research Centre for Crop Improvement (ACRCCI) . ACRCCI focuses on discovering key genes and biological processes controlling plant development and stress tolerance for innovative applications to improve food security and agricultural sustainability by bringing together research teams of international excellence in plant biology and breeding.
Improving crop productivity and stress tolerance is crucial to underpin sustainable agriculture and social stability worldwide. The issue has become particularly urgent in recent years in light of (i) the demand to double world crop yield by 2050 to feed more people with less arable land and (ii) the increased incidents of Global warming-associated drought, salt and heat stresses and pathogen and pest infections.
China and Australia are two major countries where agriculture plays key roles in their economy but faces similar challenges as how to improve crop yield, quality and stress tolerance for food, feed, fuel, fibre and other end products. To tackle this grand challenge, plant biologists and crop scientists from both countries have initiated strategic collaborative research in recent years with complementary expertise and facilities. The collaboration has begun to yield valuable outcomes and opened enormous opportunities and potentials for crop genetic improvement.
Over the last 6 years, the Centre has achieved outstanding outcomes. Evidence of success includes:
- Implementing 12 reciprocal research visits;
- Publication of 14 papers in ERA A or A+ journals.
- Established ongoing research collaboration with 4 partner institutes in China, with 6 joint papers published in peer-reviewed international journals
- Winning 4 national and international grants from governments and Industry- funding bodies. This includes $40,000 from Australian Federal Government for Group Mission in 2012 and $100,000 from Chinese TCA Industry for research and research training in 2014.
- The high quality and impact of the 2013 Group mission project has been recognised by Federal Government as a Case Study (Role Model) for future scheme.
- Expansion of the Centre to include 14 top Australian and Chinese Institutes, with new MOUs signed with NAU and CAS by UoN in 2013.
- Attracted 2 visiting scholars and 3 RHD students (enrolled at UoN) to undertake research at ACRCCI.