Broadening Canada-China Science and Technology Cooperation
The Canada-China Joint Committee (CCJC) on Science and Technology Cooperation held its 6th session on February 24-25, 2016, at Global Affairs Canada in Ottawa.
Established in 2007 to provide strategic direction for the implementation of the Agreement for Scientific and Technological Cooperation between the Government of Canada and the Government of the People’s Republic of China, this initiative is led by the Department of Global Affairs and the Ministry of Science and Technology for China. It brings together Canadian federal departments, research institutes and industry as well as Chinese counterparts.
Dr. Gilles Saindon, Agriculture and Agri-food Canada’s (AAFC) Science and Technology Branch (STB) Associate Assistant Deputy Minister (A/ADM), is the Canadian co-chair of the Agriculture and Food sector, which is a significant component of the CCJC. The Committee meets every two years to report on accomplishments and discuss priority areas for the following two-year Action Plan.
One major achievement of this 6th session of the CCJC was the addition of participating departments and agencies from both countries. This resulted in the addition of regulatory science to the scope of our collaboration with China, which is critical for ensuring evidence-based decision making on trade issues. Participants in addition to AAFC included:
- Dr. Martine Dubuc, Vice-President – Chief Food Safety Officer for Canada, and directors and staff from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).
- A large Chinese delegation with senior officials from:
- The China Ministry of Science and Technology;
- The China Academy of Agricultural Mechanization Sciences;
- The Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences;
- The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine; and
- The China Food and Drug Administration.
- Dr. Karl Tibelius, Vice-President, Genomics Programs, Genome Canada.
Science and technology capacities as well as priority areas from each organization were presented and potential collaboration opportunities of mutual interest discussed. Denis Petitclerc, STB’s Director General of Ontario and Quebec, provided an update on cooperation achievements under the 2013-2015 Action Plan and presented STB’s priority areas for the next Action Plan.
Discussions among participants confirmed the following key deliverables for inclusion in the 2016-2018 Action Plan for the Agriculture and Food sector:
- Cooperation under the existing CCJC priority areas will continue: Genetics and Genomics, Agri-Food, Farming Systems, Talent and Commercialization;
- Animal Health and Crop Pests and Diseases will be added as new priority areas;
- Industry-led projects on using pulse ingredients in food products to improve health and nutrition attributes will be pursued;
- Agri-food projects on the use of flaxseed ingredients in edible oil and on the control of biotoxins will be identified;
- Improved forage varieties will be developed to enhance productivity in livestock systems;
- Science missions will be undertaken in the near future to identify further collaborative opportunities and projects in the areas of genomics and genetics, and sustainable potato production; and
- Regulatory science aspects (to be led by the CFIA).
The 2016-2018 CCJC Action Plan is expected to be finalized in May 2016.
Another highlight of the session was the presentation to Dr. Vern Burrows, an emeritus scientist at AAFC Ottawa Research and Development Centre, of the International Scientific and Technological Cooperation Award of the People’s Republic of China, in recognition of the tremendous accomplishments he achieved in China regarding the development of oats. Read the News Release, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Scientist Receives Honour from China, for more information.
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