KU, Chinese university sign MoU to promote research cooperation

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The University of Karachi (KU) and the Foshan University of the People’s Republic of China have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) at the Foshan University, stated a press release issued on Sunday.KU Institute of Sustainable Halophyte Utilisation (ISHU) Director Prof Dr Bilquees Gul and the Foshan University’s Hao Zhifeng signed the documents. The MoU is designed for the interest of academic exchanges and scientific research cooperation on the basis of equality, friendship, mutual assistance and benefits.The MoU aims to promote modern agriculture in the belt and road countries based on the International Research Centre for Environmental Membrane Biology at the Foshan University and the Guangdong International Science & Technology Cooperation Base for Environmental Membrane Biology.According to the MoU, both parties have agreed to set up Guangdong Belt and Road Institute of Plant Environmental Sensing and Signalling for modern agriculture.They have also agreed to set up China International Science & Technology Cooperation Base for Environmental Membrane Biology and to set up a joint laboratory for environmental membrane biology and plant sensing and signalling.For the interest of substantial implementation, they have also agreed to organise international conferences, forums and seminars regularly. They will be involved in applying and accomplishing research projects related to plant membrane biology and modern agriculture.KU and the Foshan University have also decided to cooperate with the belt and road countries sharing modern agricultural development and to provide funds for early career researchers from the belt and road countries going to the Foshan University for short-term study or scientific research.According to the MoU, funds and other facilities would be provided for outstanding young scientists from China and the belt and road countries doing joint PhD programmes and to exchange scientists and specialists participating in international scientific events such as seminars, conferences, symposia and exhibitions.The representatives of both universities also agreed that any activities mentioned in the agreement should be negotiated and determined by both parties before virtual practice. The memorandum would be valid from the date of formal signature by both parties for a period of five years and would be automatically renewed.It may be extended, terminated or amended after appropriate mutual review, and may be terminated earlier on the receipt of written notice six months in advance by either party. The termination of the MoU will not affect the ongoing research or projects that have been agreed on.Earlier, ISHU Director Dr Bilquees, who had participated in the first One Belt, One Road Plant Membrane Transport Protein Biology Forum held from April 8 to April 10 at the Foshan University, briefed the participants about the latest research being conducted at her institute and also shed light on the achievements of its scholars.She said that the idea was to bring together some salinity experts at one place to do some brainstorming and discuss how to make their collaboration more efficient and productive. “Pakistan and China have very special relations, and this meeting was very essential to formalise [and boost] collaboration between both countries,” added the ISHU director.She highlighted that the key idea of the forum was to bring together plant researchers working in the field of membrane transport biology to discuss recent progress in the field and provide the opportunity for professional networking and collaboration.Amongst other topics, presentations and discussions at the forum covered membrane transporters in stress signalling and adaptation, membranes and plant development, plant nutrient acquisition and processes at root-rhizosphere interface and molecular mechanisms of regulation of transporters activity.She said that the Foshan University wanted to discuss their recent data and explore some possible ways for collaboration between the laboratories of both universities in the future, such as joint publications, grant applications and co-supervision of research students.Prof Dr Bilquees was invited due to her high international standing in the field. Experts from Belarus, Ukraine, Russia, Denmark and Mexico also attended the event.