UK and China Have Launched Two Joint Virtual Centres in Agricultural Nitrogen

Funded by BBSRC through the Newton Fund, two major new Centres between the UK and China officially started on 1st January 2016. The two Centres bring together the leading UK and Chinese researchers to tackle one of the most pressing issues for Chinas sustainable agriculture intensification and long term food security - improving nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) and reducing environmental impact.

The two Centres will work in partnership with SAIN to disseminate best practices of improved agricultural nitrogen management to a wide range of audiences.

The Centre for Improved Nitrogen Agronomy (CINAg)

   CINAg is led by Dr. Tom Misselbrook at Rothamsted Research (North Wyke) and Prof Fusuo Zhang of China Agricultural University (CAU), with the other UK partner institutes of Bangor University and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrologyand the Chinese research institutes include CAU, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), and Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

CINAg aims to increase the adoption of sustainable nitrogen management practices in China and the UK through: the development of novel indicators of nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) based on metrics of soil health and quality (an improved fundamental understanding of N cycling); the use of these indicators and other emerging knowledge and tools to test practices and systems leading to sustainable intensification (e.g. innovative fertilisers, novel sensors, crop varieties, manure management); the translation of these developments to farmers (e.g. through guidance documents, decision support systems, phone apps).

A number of thematic groups have been established for collaborative research between the UK and China partners including:

1.Manure management
2.Soil health and nitrogen transformations
3.Modelling and upscaling
4.Innovative fertilisers
5.Crop improvements
6.Knowledge exchange

The CINAg receives approximately 3 million from BBSRC and 5 million in co-funding from Chinese sources.

For further information about CINAg, please contact Dr Tom Misselbrook:

N-Circle - Virtual Joint Centre for Closed-Loop Cycling of Nitrogen in Chinese Agriculture

    The N-Circle Centre is led by the Prof Pete Smith of the University of Aberdeen, Prof Hongbin Liu of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) and Prof Xiaotang Ju of China Agricultural University (CAU), with UK partners from the University of Cambridge, SRUC, ADAS and the University of East Anglia, as well as nine leading partner institutions from China: Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (Institute of Agricultural Resources and Regional Planning and Agro-Environmental Protection Institute), China Agricultural University, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing Agricultural University, Beijing Normal University, Capital Normal University and Zhejiang University.

The N-Circle Centre emphasises on recycling of nitrogen resources and closing the nitrogen cycle. It will create a dynamic and lasting multi-disciplinary hub, with a clear vision, to attract, integrate and harness the relevant skills and expertise from the UK and China, to create infrastructure to deliver tight agricultural N cycling in China. In particular, environmental, biological and genetic scientists will combine with specialists in agronomic extension to form teams that share and develop a multi-scale approach, implemented through the Cool Farm Tool (CFT) for both commercial and scientific purposes.

N-Circle will deliver its objectives through 8 interlinked working packages:

1.Systems modelling to develop closed-loop N cycling strategies for Chinese agro-ecosystems
2.Enhancing recovery of applied N, both fertiliser & manure.
3.Reducing GHG emissions due to N applications
4.Maximising legume N fixation and uptake
5.Reducing crop N demand
  a.Predicting canopy N demand
  b.Maximising C & N fixation & harvest
  c.Minimising grain N demand
6.Reducing end-user demand for N and N excretion
7.Optimising land management strategies

The N-Circle receives just under 3 million from BBSRC and over 4 million in co-funding from Chinese sources.

For further information about N-Circle, please contact Prof Pete Smith:





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