|VIPs pose for a photo after the ceremony.
The joint launching ceremony for the Research and Development Center for Energy Plants, the CAS Institute of Botany (IOB), and the R&D Laboratory for Sweet Sorghum, which is to be co-established by IOB and the Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory (TLL) in Singapore, was held on 10 December at IOB in Beijing. Present at the ceremony were high-profile officials and scholars from CAS, Peking University, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), ChemChina International, BP Group, and Xinjiang Agricultural Science Academy. At the ceremony, speeches were made by CAS Vice President LI Jiayang, Peking University President XU Zhihong, Director-general of CAS Bureau of Life Science and Biotechnology KANG Le, Deputy Section Chief of Renewable Energy Sources of NDRC LIANG Zhipeng, and TLL Chief Operating Officer Tan Kok Keng. President of the National Natural Science Foundation of China CHEN Yiyu sent his congratulatory messages. The nameplate of the new Center was jointly revealed by Prof. LI Jiayang, and Chairman of TLL Strategic Research Management Committee Prof Nam Hai Chua, Prof. KANG Le, and IOB Director MA Keping, and that of the IOB-TLL R&D Laboratory for Sweet Sorghum by Prof. XU Zhihong, Prof. KUANG Tingyun from IOB, Dr. Tan Kok Keng, and TLL Deputy Chief Operating Officer Mr. Peter Chia. The agreement on co-establishing R&D Laboratory for Sweet Sorghum was signed by KANG Le and MA Keping from CAS and Tan Kok Keng and Peter Chia from TLL. The new Center strives to offer S&T support to the country's energy strategy by conducting integrative research into important energy crops from interdisciplinary approaches, including photosynthesis, physiology, biochemistry, cell and molecular biology, and ecology and environment, according to Prof. ZHONG Kang, vice director of IOB and director of the new Center. Its central tasks are to develop molecular breeding technology and related theories for high-yield, anti-adversity plants by using high-biomass energy crops such as sweet sorghum and Dioscorea opposita Thunb. It is aimed at breeding new energy crop varieties suitable for growing in marginal lands. The ceremony was followed by a symposium entitled R&D Strategy for Energy Plants. Prof. Nam Hai Chua, who is also Head of the Laboratory of Plant Molecular Biology, Rockefeller University in US, and Prof. KUANG Tingyun, also a CAS Member, were invited to give talks on "Biofuel Plants: Opportunities and Challenges," and "Development Strategy for Biomass Energy Sources in China," respectively.