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We work with partners in China to explore opportunities in key strategic thematic areas of mutual benefit to both our nations.

The Chinese Academy of Sciences: CSIRO's most longstanding Chinese partner

CSIRO has partnered with the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) since 1975. In 2008, the CAS-CSIRO Joint Steering Committee (JSC) was established to oversee the relationship and explore opportunities. The partnership focuses on five key areas:

  • sustainable Agriculture
  • health sciences and biotechnology
  • climate change impacts
  • marine science and blue economy
  • nanotechnology and new materials for energy

Each year, we co-fund projects, workshops and short-term staff exchanges under each strategic area. So far, the committee has supported:

  • 36 projects
  • over 24 workshops
  • over 140 short-term exchanges.

One of the projects we are currently working on is the development of inorganic polymer for use in large scale industrial sectors. The project aims to convert large scale industrial waste into building products. Researchers are currently forecasting the use of fly-ash from power-generating plants.

CSIRO is also working with CAS to investigate methods for developing low‐carbon construction material. Both organisations have committed to a project to pilot technology for converting mining waste materials into geo‐polymers.

The Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences: A CSIRO strategic partner in agricultural sciences

CSIRO has engaged with the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) since 2008, primarily at a researcher to researcher level. In 2020, the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was renewed to formalise the engagement into a partnership program, encouraging deeper collaboration and enabling the two organisations to address common challenges of mutual interest to both countries.

The CAAS-CSIRO partnership programs consist of joint projects, theme workshops and staff exchanges in the thematic areas, such as:

  • crop sciences
  • agricultural resources and environment
  • animal sciences and veterinary medicine.

Furthering scientific understanding of southern hemisphere oceans

The Centre for Southern Hemisphere Oceans Research (CSHOR) is a collaborative research partnership between CSIRO and the Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology (QNLM). It brings together international researchers to further scientific understanding of the southern hemisphere oceans and their role in global and regional climates.

Both Australia and China have a strong common interest in better understanding how the southern hemisphere oceans influence the climate of our region and the rest of the globe. By tackling the most fundamental questions in southern hemisphere ocean climate research, CSHOR will help to inform an effective response to the challenges of climate change and variability.

In early 2018, CSHOR and CSIRO established the first array of Deep Argo floats near Antarctica. Deep Argo floats profile the ocean from the surface to 6,000 metres below to give researchers an understanding of deep ocean temperature and salinity changes, factors which are important to the Earth's energy balance. This project was in partnership with the United States, France and Japan. The floats are delivering measurements of full-depth ocean properties with unprecedented spatial and temporal detail. We deployed the first Australian Deep Argo floats in January 2019, from a Japanese vessel. This brings the total number of active floats to 12, each profiling every 10-14 days.

CSHOR collaborated with scientists from China's First Institute of Oceanography (FIO) to carry out a six-day chartered voyage in the southeast Indian Ocean warm pool. The scientists deployed one meteorology and ocean profiling buoy (MOPB) from the FIO and eight fast profiling floats from CSIRO. Both the buoy and float deployments were successful, providing the first co-ordinated air-sea flux and upper ocean measurement in the southeast Indian Ocean warm pool.

Developing the world's largest single dish telescope

Credit: © Associated Press Xinhua

The 'Five hundred-metre Aperture Spherical Telescope' (FAST) is the world's largest single dish telescope. It was developed by the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (NAOC) and CSIRO.

Most radio telescopes use receivers that can only see one piece of sky at a time, but FAST has receivers with many separate, simultaneous beams. This means it can search a large portion of the sky for faint and hidden galaxies. As a result, researchers can look for a range of new objects, like thousands of new pulsars in our galaxy, and possibly the first radio pulsar in other galaxies.

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