USJ holds the kick-off ceremony for the first Sino-Portugal Joint Laboratory for Marine and Environmental Sciences





The first Sino-Portugal Joint Laboratory for Marine and Environmental Sciences is 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).

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 ceremony was officiated b­y representatives of the four collaborating institutions, including Prof. Stephen Morgan, Rector of USJ, Prof. Isabel Gil, Rector of UCP, Prof. Fan WANG, Director of IOCAS, Prof. David Gonçalves, Dean of ISE-USJ, Prof. Narcisa Bandarra and Prof. Pedro Pousão representatives from IPMA, Prof. Manuela Pintado, Director of CBQF-UCP, and Prof. Rencheng YU, the project coordinator, of IOCAS.

The event was marked by a welcome speech by Prof. Stephen Morgan, Rector of USJ, followed by a speech by Prof. Isabel Gil, Rector of UCP, presentations of the four institutions and of the project, followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The Sino-Portugal Joint Laboratory for Marine and Environmental Sciences (hereinafter referred to as “the project”) 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 overarching objectives of this laboratory are 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.

The project 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.

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. CBQF offers outstanding capacities in marine biotechnology research and development, with a focus on valorisation of marine biological resources and the development of sustainable solutions for the use of marine products.

ISE focuses 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 is able to fully exploit Macao’s role as a bridge for Sino-Portuguese cooperation.

[Photo: Prof. Stephen Morgan, Rector of USJ]

During the ceremony, Rector Morgan commented: “ISE is the most active research unit in Macao in marine and environmental research and has been promoting project-level cooperation between researchers in Macao, mainland China, and Portugal, including with all partners of the lab. Today marks an important step forward in that process”.

[Photo: Prof. Isabel Gil, Rector of UCP]

Rector Gil also made remarks on this week’s meeting with the Chief Executive of the Macao SAR: “The strategic development of Macao passes through the development of a cluster in the field of biotechnology and marine sciences, so environmental sciences are particularly important for the future development of Macao, of China, of Portugal, and of course of the World itself. We have to work together to protect biodiversity and also to use our scarce resources in such a way that they can be offered to secure a future, a sustainable future for mankind. At UCP, this is part of our institutional strategy and we are very glad that we can strengthen this with the ties with IOCAS and USJ.”

[Photo: Distinguished guests during the kick-off ceremony]

The project 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. The joint research is expected to contribute to improve marine ecosystem health and support the blue economy of the future in China and Portugal.

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. The project not only has important scientific value but also brings significant diplomatic, socio-economic, and environmental benefits.

[Photo: Prof. David Gonçalves, Dean of ISE/USJ, presents souvenir to Prof. Fan WANG, Director of IOCAS]

The ceremony was attended by guests including Prof. Yanwei Li, Prof. Libin Zhang, Prof. Delin Duan, Prof. Liqin Duan, and Prof. Huixia Geng from IOCAS, Prof. Filipe Porteiro from Universidade dos Açores (UAc), USJ Vice-rectors Prof. Keith Morrison, Prof. Zhang Shuguang, and Dr. Teresa Loong, Prof. Thomas Lei, Prof. Karen Tagulao and Emeritus Professor Shek Kiu Chan from ISE, USJ staff, students and scholars.

[Photo: Prof. David Gonçalves, Dean of ISE/USJ]

[Photo: Prof. Fan Wang, Director of IOCAS]

[Photo: Prof. Narcisa Bandarra, IPMA]

[Photo: Prof. Manuela Pintado, Director of CBGF/UCP]

[Photo: Prof. Filipe Porteiro, UAc]

[Photo: Prof. Yanwei Li, IOCAS]

[Photo: Prof. Rencheng Yu, IOCAS]