A group mission that includes an Australian-first cross-collaborative conference has been hailed as such a success that it’s being used by the Federal Government as a case-study for future international linkage schemes.

The first Australian-Chinese Symposium on Crop Science was held in Hongzhou, China in 2013 with University of Newcastle joining academics and researchers from across Australia to brainstorm with over 400 attendees. UON Associate Professor Yong-Ling Ruan, chaired the symposium which had a group mission to promote collaboration between researchers in Australia and China. Ruan is the Director of The Australia-China Research Centre for Crop Improvement (ACRCCI), established in 2008 to focus on discovering key genes and biological processes that control plant development, stress tolerance and crop productivity.

The ACRCCI aims to discover innovative applications to improve food security and agricultural sustainability through bringing together research teams of international excellence in plant biology and breeding.

Research that’s future-proofing our country

The study of plants could see Australia being a fertile nation – even with our wild range of climate issues. Ruan’s study of plants at a genetic level could uncover how to improve plant’s tolerance to stress – including drought, heat and salt.

When plants are stressed during a pivoted period of fertilization it can cause their flowers to drop – causing irreversible seed and fruit loss.

If researchers can ascertain the genetic issues that cause plants to spontaneously abort, they can look to improve crops resistance to climate change.