CAU's Purdue Day lays groundwork for the future

May 20, 2010

Jay Akridge
Purdue Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture

CAU researchOne of the most important aspects of Purdue Day at China Agricultural University was exploring future collaborations between researchers at CAU and our College of Agriculture. CAU is a world-class agricultural research university, and, like Purdue, is looking to explore research collaborations with international peers. Purdue College of Agriculture department heads, faculty and graduate students spent the full day with CAU colleagues to explore possible areas of collaboration. Ten groups were structured to cover areas ranging from agricultural economics to plant stress biology, plant breeding and plant pathology, animal sciences, and agricultural and biological engineering, to youth development and agricultural education. Some 16 Purdue College of Agriculture representatives and more than 70 CAU faculty were involved in the discussions.

Purdue CAU collaborationAt the end of the day, each of the 10 groups presented a summary of its ideas for collaboration to the full group. In general, areas of future collaboration included more faculty exchanges to build stronger relationships between the two universities, more student exchanges, especially at the graduate student level, and identification of joint research projects. The general issue of how to encourage more U.S. students (graduates and undergraduates) to study for longer periods of time in China was discussed. Other ideas presented were the use of online courses to deepen relationships and the general idea of using information technology to facilitate the relationship and help address the distance barrier. Every group identified some specific research topics that were of mutual interest, and these ranged from agribusiness management to abiotic stress in plants, biological sensors and the overall issue of rural youth development. The general idea of an interdisciplinary research theme that might bring together several disciplines was of much interest, with global food security/world hunger the primary focus.

Purdue CAU agreementStructures to facilitate the collaboration also were discussed, and our president will sign an agreement with CAU today that sets up the general concept of a Purdue-CAU joint research center that would serve as a coordinating vehicle for collaborative research. Next steps include taking these discussions back to broader groups at our respective institutions, framing action plans for moving forward and initiating some of the highest priority collaborations.

In the presentations at the end of the day's work, it was quite clear why both of these institutions are so highly regarded globally. The ideas were flowing, and this very productive day should set the stage for a much richer relationship with CAU going forward. This deeper relationship will benefit Purdue's students, as well as our stakeholders who depend on Purdue Agriculture for world-class research.