The Shanghai Center for Cassava Biotechnology (SCCB), a joint research center supported by Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences (SIBS) and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich), was officially opened at the Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology (SIPPE), SIBS on April 25, 2007. Prof. Zhu Chen, the Vice President of Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), and Dr. Charles Kleiber, the State Secretary for Education and Research of Swiss Confederation, jointly unveiled the name plate of SCCB at the inauguration ceremony.
Prof. Xiaoya Chen, the Vice President of CAS Shanghai Branch and SIPPE director, and Prof. Konrad Osterwalder, the ETH President a.i. and Rector, signed an agreement for strategic cooperation between the two institutes. Prof. Wilhelm Gruissem from the Institute of Plant Sciences, ETH Zurich and Prof. Peng Zhang from SIPPE, SIBS, introduced the rationale for establishing the joint center and its structure as well as management. Officials from Bureau of International Cooperation and Bureau of Life Sciences & Biotechnology of CAS, CAS Shanghai Branch, SIBS participated the event. A Swiss official delegation was present at the inauguration ceremony, including the ambassador of Swiss embassy in China, Assistant Director of Federal Office for Professional Education and Technology, President of the Research Council of the Swiss National Science Foundation, and other 20 officials. Prof. Bin Han, the Vice Director of SIPPE, chaired the inauguration ceremony.
In the welcome address, Prof. Xiaoya Chen expressed his strong support and congratulation to the launch of SCCB. He also expected that Sino-Swiss cooperation on sciences and technology could be intensified through the SCCB. Prof. Zhu Chen addressed that SCCB could be serve as a platform for joint research, academic exchange and training, especially reinforcement in bioenergy R&D. Dr. Charles Kleiber said that the mechanisms of Sino-Swiss cooperation on Science and technology could be bilateral or multilateral in order to explore both advantages. He wished a big success of SCCB in his address.
Under the support of the Knowledge Innovation Program of CAS，SIBS and CAS Shanghai Branch have promoted the R&D of industrial biotechnology to meet the national demand of sustainable development of environment and energy. SIPPE, meanwhile, grasped the chance to reinforce its capacity building to develop technology for conversion of biomass to valuable fuels, chemicals, materials etc. The SCCB will service as a platform to intensify cooperation in plant biotechnology and biofuel research between China and Switzerland and to facilitate the academic exchanges, eventually developing the SIBS and ETH Zurich to a strategic partnerships in this new era.