April 2010

Headline News Innovation and Development

Applied Technology

Basic Science Cooperation between CAS and Local Authorities
Bioscience International Cooperation Brief News Geoscience  
International Cooperation

Talents Program: No National Boundary

To attract and provide financial assistance to outstanding overseas scientists of different levels in certain key research fields to visit and conduct exchange and collaborative research in the CAS institutes, CAS has launched and implemented two collaborative research programs in 2009, which have attracted immediate attention from worldwide media and major scientific research institutes. One program is known as ¡°CAS Visiting Professorships for Senior International Scientists¡±. This program is aimed to attract outstanding senior researchers from overseas to participate in research projects of CAS. This program applies to outstanding senior international scientists who currently or previously work in well-known universities, research institutes or multi-national corporations, with academic standing as professor, associate professor or equivalent, and are willing to conduct cooperative research in CAS institutes for a certain period. An international scientist recruited by this program will receive a grant of 400,000-500,000 RMB yuan a year to cover his or her salary, daily living allowance and health insurance. The period of research under this program is 2-12 months. The other program is ¡°CAS Fellowships for Young International Scientists¡±.This program is aimed to attract outstanding young international scientists to conduct collaborative research in CAS institutes for a certain period. An applicant for this program shall meet the following conditions: Class A: a young scientist, who holds a PhD degree, aged 40 or below, has over 5 years of research experience and has made sound academic accomplishments; Class B: a post-doctoral fellow, 35 years old or below. A young international scientist recruited by this program will receive a grant of 150,000-250,000 RMB yuan a year to cover his or her salary, daily living allowance and health insurance. The period of research under this program is 12 months. In 2009, 159 persons were recruited by ¡°CAS Visiting Professorships for Senior International Scientists¡± and 55 persons were recruited by ¡°CAS Fellowships for Young International Scientists¡±. The recruitment rate was 54% and 61% respectively.
The Public Radio International and many world famous scientific research institutes, such as the Royal Society of UK and Russian Academy of Sciences, etc. have actively recommended experts to CAS. Some foreign official websites display the link of the international talent cooperation and exchange programs. CCTV, Science Times, Science and Technology Daily and other mainstream media have also specifcifically reported these programs.

Efforts on Genome: Aims to Gene Therapy

On Mar. 19, scientists from BGI (formerly known as the Beijing Genomics Institute, CAS) and the University of South Florida and the University of Maryland announced ¡°the symbiont genome project¡±, which is to sequence the genomes of sea slug, Elysia chlorotica and its algal food Vaucheria litorea. The slug¡¯s cells sequester chloroplasts from the alga, which allows the animal to photosynthesize, which in turn provides sufficient energy to carry out the entire life cycle of the slug, including reproduction. 

Scientists from BGI pointed out, a comparison between the genomes of the alga and the slug would provide an extremely powerful tool to identify the suite of genes required to sustain photosynthetically functional chloroplasts in a host cell. It would also help to define the nature of the transfer, the size and number of the transferred gene fragments, and, of major importance, lead to the understanding of the mechanism of the gene transfer between species, which will have implications in new methodologies for genome manipulation or even gene therapy. In addition, the sequences of both genomes will be of significant value to comparative genomics, as well as to the broader disciplines of evolution, developmental biology, and systematics. 

This jointly funded research is part of BGI's newly announced ¡°1,000 plant and animal reference genomes project¡± which aims to decode 1,000 genomes over the next two years. In ¡°the symbiont genome project¡±, BGI will be responsible for the sequencing and bioinformatics analysis and contribute a variety of research expertise in plant, algal and animal genomics.

Jungur Biodiversity on List of GEF

Recently, ¡°Community-based Participatory Conservation and Sustainable Management of Biodiversity in Jungur Desert Ecosystem, Xinjiang¡± undertaken by the Botanical Society of Xinjiang was formally started as the first Small Grant Program (SGP) under the Global Environment Facility (GEF). This program and other 21 programs were the first batch of programs approved by GEF. The program aims to conserve biodiversity and maintain sustainable development at Jungur mainly through participation of farmers and herdsmen. According to Pan Borong, Chairman of the Executive Council of the Botanical Society of Xinjiang and research fellow of the Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, CAS, this program will establish a shareable database of biodiversity in Jungur Desert ecosystem and conduct biodiversity assessment and gap analysis at typical areas. The program will be conducted in two townships, including Qitai County and Jimusaer County respectively at Jungur Basin. In cooperation with local herdsmen and government, it will identify the goals of local biodiversity protection and by means of capacity training, promote sustainable agricultural and livestock production mode favorable to the conservation of biodiversity and prevention of land degradation, increase the income of farmers and herdsmen and realize community-based participatory conservation and sustainable management of biodiversity. Through the building of shelterbelts in the desert areas and cultivation of medicinal plants, such as herba cistanches, fritillary, liquoric root and Chinese ephedra, the program aims to cultivate forest to adjust the development of forest and to realize both ecologic benefit and economic benefit.

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