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Belgian Institute and NC State Partner for Plant Biotech Research.

To aimed at spurring growth in the plant biotech research sector in both Belgium and North Carolina, NC State University and VIB which is a life sciences research institute in Belgium, recently entered into a strategic collaboration agreement.

With strong interaction with local agrotech clusters VIB with the Ghent Agro Cluster and NC State with the AgBio[sphere] in the Research Triangle, both institutions are leading international players in plant biotech.

VIB and NC State want to exchange researchers, set up new companies and collaborate on studying the soil microbiome’s influence on plants, plant breeding, systems and synthetic biology, field phenotyping, precision agriculture and related sciences.

“This alliance will open new research paths and create new opportunities to boost the growth of both Ag biotech clusters, which represent world-leading innovation clusters in plant sciences,” said Dr. Johan Cardoen, VIB’s managing director.

Meanwhile the partnership will have important implications for students. “Through this partnership with VIB, we will be developing the plant scientists of tomorrow in a way that is truly multidisciplinary and that enables students to gain an international perspective and expertise that will make them even more valuable to their future employers,” said Richard Linton, NC State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Dean.

Research leaders with both institutions said that complementary experience lies at the heart of the partnership. Dr. Steve Lommel, CALS’ associate dean for research, said, “VIB has an excellent model for developing basic science discoveries that lead to startup companies, while we have a strong model for taking basic research and applying it to agricultural problems. So we see this as a win-win relationship, one that will benefit both VIB and NC State, as well as the agriculture and ag biotech industries.”

“We will create significant synergy not only at the academic level but also in the translation of results toward biotechnology innovations in agriculture, by working together,” said Dr. Dirk Inzé, director of the VIB Department of Plant Systems Biology, UGent.


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