Chinese delegation visit The Roslin Institute Building
The Roslin Institute's links with China continue to go from strength to strength with the visit of Shandong's Vice Governor Jia and his delegation in April.
During their time in Scotland, Vice Governor Jia and his delegation will meet with the Scottish Environment Minister Stewart Stevenson and visit The Roslin Institute and Scottish Agricultural College to learn more about their expertise in agricultural research.
The visit to Scotland follows the First Minister's successful trade and cultural mission to China last December during which he signed an innovation focused Memorandum of Understanding with the Governor of Shandong.
China is a key emerging market for Scotland. Salmon exports to China from January to November last year were worth £21.4 million and Scotch Whisky exports - up 15 per cent on the previous year - were worth £60.1 million in the same period.
Professor Bruce Whitelaw, Head of the Division of Developmental Biology at The Roslin Institute presented information about the Institute and took the delegation on a tour of The Roslin Institute Building prior to the visitors meeting Professor Geoff Simm, Academic Director & Vice Principal (Research) at the SAC for further discussions about the concentration of Animal Scientists in Midlthian.
It was great to be able to welcome a delegation from China's Shandong Province and to discuss the cutting-edge research carried out at The Roslin Institute. Research at The Roslin Institute covers a number of global issues, including looking at the transfer of viruses between species - such as avian flu - or how genomics can help improve livestock production and help ensure food sustainability. The Roslin Institute has a number of international research collaborations and such visits are very important for strengthening international relationships.
This was a successful visit and the delegation seemed genuinely excited about opportunity for interaction between The Roslin Institute/University of Edinburgh and Shandong. They left promising to set up dialogue between the academic/agriclutural organisations in their province with us. Their questioning although broad did tend to focus on how much governmental financial input we get and the opportunity and strategy for translating our research.
Scotland's relationship with China continues to go from strength to strength. Vice Governor Jia's visit to Scotland, which comes just months after the First Minister's visit to China, highlights the genuine interest in enriching and developing our relationship.
China is a key market for Scotland and our commitment to the relationship is justified by results. We now have an export health certificate which allows direct exports of Scottish salmon to China, helping Scottish salmon producers secure major sales to the nation. And Scotch whisky sales to China have soared following the granting of legal status for Scottish whisky in 2010.
Shandong is the second most populated province in China with 95 million people and its economy is growing rapidly - that is why it is so important that we continue to build strong links with the province.
We are committed to working more closely with Shandong in a number of sectors, including offshore energy, life sciences, education, agricultural research, culture, sports and tourism.