Iowa State moves ahead on faculty exchange with Chinese institute

Abbie Moeller

The agriculture and economics departments at Iowa State signed a five-year research agreement with a Chinese institute this summer, and the university is preparing to exchange researchers and ideas.

ISU President Martin Jischke signed the agreement with the Institute of Natural Resources and Regional Planning at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) in China this June.

Jischke’s signature started the process of scientists visiting both places, said David Acker, director of international agriculture programs at ISU.

“It’s going to be a faculty exchange … with one of their top agriculture universities,” Acker said of the five-year program.

Each year, one scientist from each institute will be selected to go to the other institute to learn and research, Acker said.

Now that the signing is final, the colleges will advertise the program and accept proposals from interested faculty, Acker said. The research ideas will be submitted to committees, and the ideas that best fit the interests of both institutions will be selected.

The Department of Economics also is involved in the program, said John Miranowski, head of the economics department at ISU. He said the U.S. and Chinese economies are closely linked.

“We have a strong interest in global economy, and China is a big part of that,” Miranowski said.

Acker suggested that the environment and natural resources might be areas of study for the joint project, as well as the import and export of agricultural products by both countries.

This is not the first agreement between ISU and an institute in another country. Erda Wang, a visiting scientist at the Center for Agriculture and Rural Development from CAAS, is currently at ISU and conducting research in livestock waste management.

He is an associate professor at CAAS and has been involved as an administrator in the agreement process. He said he also will be on the CAAS committee evaluating the research proposals.

Wang attended Colorado State University and graduated in agriculture economics. He said he is glad this program will involve both the agriculture and the economics departments at ISU and that it will look at multiple sides of every issue.

“I have a lot of interest in common goals,” Wang said.

He said he has enjoyed being at ISU and he appreciates all the support he has received from the College of Agriculture and his colleagues.