Potential for INFFER collaboration in China
Led by Prof. Qiang Yu from the University of Technology Sydney, Anna Roberts, Geoff Park and Melanie Strang visited China in May 2012 to explore the interest of developing a collaborative research project to assess the usefulness of INFFER to assist the Chinese government in making cost-effective decisions about environmental protection. The major places visited and activities undertaken were at:
• The Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, hosted by Prof. Changhe Lu. Anna and Geoff gave presentations on major issues facing Australian issues including water scarcity in the Murray-Darling Basin, how government works in Australia, the role of catchment management and an overview of INFFER. Geoff, Mel and Anna also did an INFFER training session with students which provided us very valuable experience about modifications which might be needed to suit the Chinese context.
• China Agricultural University, host Prof. Xuabiao Pan – Anna gave an Australian agriculture and INFFER presentation and Chinese scientists presented their work on erosion, cropping and grazing issues in inner Mongolia.
• Shaanxi Normal University, Xi’an, host Prof. Dongqian Xue, Dean of Tourism and Environment. Qiang, Geoff and Anna each gave presentations to academics and students, followed up with a lively question and answer session.
• North West Agriculture and Forestry University, host Prof. Jianqiang He. Qiang, Geoff and Anna each gave presentations, followed by discussion. We also had the opportunity to meet with Vice-president, Prof. Pute Wu, who expressed interest in a collaborative project dealing with decision-making on water scarcity and soil erosion issues in the Loess Plateau and Yellow River.
• National Changwu Experimental Station located in the Loess Plateau, host Prof Wenzhao Liu, and Dr Xiaoping Zhang.
Overall the visit was productive and rewarding for each of us. We assessed that there is strong interest and goodwill to pursue collaborative research in piloting INFFER in western China and assessing its usefulness to assist the Chinese government in making cost-effective investment decisions. Our next steps will be to investigate collaborative funding options and identify graduate student opportunities to work with INFFER in China.
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