The first Sino-Portugal Joint Laboratory for Marine and Environmental Sciencesis the result of an agreement for China-Portugal cooperation in the areas of marine and environmental sciences between the Institute of Science and Environment of the University of Saint Joseph (ISE-USJ), the Centre of Biotechnology and Fine Chemistry of Universidade Católica Portuguesa (CBQF-UCP), the Instituto Português do Mar e da Atmosfera (IPMA), and the Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (IOCAS). A project funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology of the People's Republic of China (MOST), whose kick-off ceremony took place on 11 October at the University of Saint Joseph's Ilha Verde campus, in Macau.
Manuela Pintado, director of the Centre for Biotechnology and Fine Chemistry at the Universidade Católica Portuguesa (CBQF/ESB/UCP) in Porto and coordinator of the project in Portugal, explains that "it is expected that the joint research will contribute to improving the health of marine ecosystems and supporting the blue economy of the future in China and Portugal." The Sino-Portugal Joint Laboratory for Marine and Environmental Sciences is organized around four main research axis: 1) Ecosystem change, including ocean acidification and global biogeochemical processes; 2) Ecological disasters, including harmful algal blooms; 3) Mariculture development, including the optimization of sustainable practices for aquaculture and; 4) Utilization of bio-resources, including the identification of new molecules from marine organisms with potential benefits for humans.
This project aims to establish a stable system of mutual scientific visits and exchanges, training, research development, sharing of research facilities and equipment, and organization of scientific and innovation events, fostering the consolidation of a comprehensive Sino-Portuguese marine and environmental science and technology platform. “The lab is expected to promote innovative leaps in marine and environmental science and technology cooperation between China and Portugal and support future China-Europe cooperation in these areas,” refers Manuela Pintado, noting “the project not only has important scientific value, but also brings significant diplomatic, socio-economic, and environmental benefits.”
Foster scientific cooperation between Portugal and China, through Macao
The Sino-Portugal Joint Laboratory for Marine and Environmental Sciences has as overarching objectives to foster scientific cooperation between Portugal and China, through Macao, in the fields of marine and environmental sciences, promoting the development of a sustainable blue economy for the future. It is the result of a Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2020 between ISE-USJ, CBQF-UCP, IPMA, and IOCAS for developing cooperation in the areas of marine and environmental sciences.
“The Centre for Biotechnology and Fine Chemistry offers outstanding capacities in marine biotechnology research and development, with a focus on valorisation of marine biological resources and development of sustainable solutions for the use of marine products,” stresses Manuela Pintado.
IPMA is Portugal's only national laboratory dedicated to marine and atmospheric science and technology research, with extensive facilities for marine research across continental Portugal, Azores and Madeira. ISE focus on the study of the physiology and behaviour of marine organisms under a scenario of global change and anthropogenic pressures, and conservation of coastal ecosystems. With a history of long-term cooperation with research teams from both mainland China and Portugal, ISE is acquainted with the scientific research and management systems of both parties and can fully exploit Macao's role as a bridge for Sino-Portuguese cooperation.
The ceremony was officiated by representatives of the four collaborating institutions, including Stephen Morgan (Rector of USJ), Isabel Capeloa Gil (Rector of UCP), Fan WANG (Director of IOCAS), David Gonçalves (Dean of ISE-USJ), Narcisa Bandarra (representative from IPMA), Manuela Pintado (Director of CBQF-UCP) and Rencheng YU (project coordinator, of IOCAS). The ceremony was also attended by guests including Yanwei Li, Libin Zhang, Delin Duan, Liqin Duan, and Huixia Geng (professors from IOCAS), Prof. Filipe Porteiro (Universidade dos Açores- UAc), Keith Morrison, Zhang Shuguang, Teresa Loong (USJ Vice-rectors), Thomas Lei and Karen Tagulao from ISE, USJ staff, students and scholars. The kick-off ceremony took place on the morning of 11 October at the Don Bosco Auditorium of the University of Saint Joseph's Ilha Verde campus.
The Sino-Portugal Joint Laboratory for Marine and Environmental Sciences is funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology of the People's Republic of China (MOST) to IOCAS, the lead unit of the project and currently one of the largest and most comprehensive oceanographic research institutions in China, to bring together the strengths of both China and Portugal in the field of marine science to carry out cooperative research.