16 July 2019 – The 1st Steering Committee meeting of the Joint Laboratory between the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI) and the Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI), has this week taken place at the MARDI headquarters in Malaysia.
This meeting is the first follow-up activity after a Memorandum of Agreement to establish a Joint Laboratory was signed in October 2018, in Beijing, China during the CABI Asia Pacific Regional Consultation. The joint Steering Committee members discussed and agreed on the governance of the Joint Laboratory and its functions and themes as well as project development and associated funding opportunities.
The meeting was co-chaired by Dr Mohamad Roff, Mohd Noor, Director General of MARDI and Dr Ulrich Kuhlmann, Executive Director, Global Operations, CABI. Dr Roff highlighted the successful partnership between MARDI and CABI so far, and expressed that MARDI will provide seed funding for project implementation. Dr Kuhlmann underscored that the establishment of the Joint Laboratory will begin a new chapter to strengthen the MARDI-CABI collaboration – underpinning a great opportunity to build on the successful model of MARA China-CABI Joint Laboratory experience in Beijing, China.
As a result of the discussions, the Steering Committee agreed on three functions of the Joint Laboratory: (1) Research and development; (2) Capacity building; and (3) International collaboration and linkages. Furthermore, it was agreed to conduct project activities in the following three themes: (1) Biological-based pest management; (2) Invasive species management; and (3) Biopesticide product development.
The first project being implemented by the Joint Laboratory Initiative, and financially supported by MARDI, is to establish a biological control agent mass production facility to carry out research and development of Trichogramma sp as a biological control agent for rice pest control in Malaysia. It was also agreed to pursue project development opportunities in the field of technology transfer, invasive species management and farmer capacity building to use biological control agents.