From April 1st to 5th, the SHui project held its first official conference in Fujian Agricultural and Forestry University, Fuzhou, China after gaining sponsorship from the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), complementing existing European Union funding. The conference was co-chaired by Professors Jose Gomez and Xu Weifeng, leading scientists from the European and Chinese sides respectively.
At the opening ceremony, Zheng Baodong, Vice President of Fujian Agricultural and Forestry University, delivered a speech emphasising the national importance of water management issues in both China and Europe. He pointed out that farmland water resources currently constrain agricultural production in both China and Europe, and that closer cooperation between scientists and water managers was needed to implement sustainable solutions. He hoped that the SHui project would strengthen China-EU international cooperation, providing opportunities for researcher exchanges to work together to achieve important breakthroughs.
All partner institutions and universities were present at this event, along with members of the project’s International Advisory Board and project officers commissioned by the MOST. Many locally based academics from the Academic of Science and Technology, the College of Life Sciences, the College of Resources and Environment and the College of Crop Science also attended the meeting.
Apart from the official business of the project, during which Chinese and European Work Package Leaders presented their vision for the upcoming work, there was the opportunity for all attendees to update their skills. Following the official close of business, 35 delegates attended a workshop on Crop Growth and Hydrological modelling on April 4th, along with a “recess visit” to the nearby Jinshan Soil and Water Conservation demonstration park of the Fuzhou school. Although the workshop was aimed primarily at early-career scientists, it was obvious that even established academics could learn a lot about model design and implementation from the tutors:
- Mr Tomas Roquette Tenreiro (University of Cordoba, Spain)
- Dr David Zumr (Czech Technical University, Prague, Czech Republic)
- Dr Jiale Wang (Changjian River Science Research Institute, China)
To gain a personal perspective from one of the tutors, read Tomas’ reflections here.
With a busy summer of experiments and field work planned ahead, the consortium plans to meet next in Vienna in September 2019 to report the latest progress.