UNE strengthens links with Korea in animal science

Published 25 March 2010

seungA new agreement between the University of New England and Korea’s National Institute of Animal Science has established a framework for collaborative projects on livestock production and meat quality assurance.

During a visit to UNE last week, the Director of the Institute, Dr Seung Yong Ra, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Vice-Chancellor of UNE, Professor Jim Barber.

“UNE has had a long and fruitful collaboration with the National Institute of Animal Science in Korea,” Professor Barber said. “The success of this collaboration so far, and the commitment of both our institutions to its continuation and expansion, all point to an exciting and productive future.”

The MOU recognises – and extends the scope of – a fruitful collaborative relationship that, over the past 14 years, has fostered a growing number of joint projects, exchange visits, training courses, and Korean PhD students training at UNE while working on Korean research projects.

The relationship began with work on Korean meat quality standards and assessment with UNE’s Professor John Thompson, who was a driving force behind the development of Australia’s unique meat grading scheme, Meat Standards Australia (MSA).

It then widened to involve UNE’s Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit (AGBU) and The Institute for Genetics and Bioinformatics (TIGB) in collaborative work with the Korean Institute on the use of genetic information in livestock breeding. Professor John Gibson, the Director of TIGB, has visited Korea several times to coordinate this work, and is currently a co-supervisor (along with Professor Thompson, Professor Julius van der Werf, and Dr Cedric Gondro) of the PhD project of a Korean student, Mr Seung Hwan Lee, on the use of molecular genetic information in livestock improvement.

“New projects to be developed under the MOU will include applications in livestock genome research, research towards greener livestock systems, implementation of meat quality assurance programs, and improved methods of genetic improvement of livestock,” Professor Gibson said.

Professor Barber pointed out that all these were “areas in which UNE has internationally recognised expertise”.

THE PHOTOGRAPH displayed here shows Professor Jim Barber and Dr Seung Yong Ra with the signed MOU.