Chinese - European Partnership


Danube Soya is now playing a leading role in boosting cooperation between China and Europe in the development of protein crops. On 9 November 2015 in Beijing, Matthias Krön of Danube Soya signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Prof Wan Jianmin and Prof. Yuan Xuezhi of the CAAS Institute of Crop Science and the CAAS Institute of Animal Science respectively. This agreement supports the Chinese-European Legume Improvement Alliance (C-ELIA).

Matthias Krön, Prof. Wan Jian Min and Prof. Yuan Xuezhi signing the MoU

The EU and China are facing similar challenges as both regions are increasingly dependent on plant protein imports both for food and animal feed and as importers they together dominate the international trade in soy. The EU and China have therefore a common interest in cooperating in developing sustainable plant protein supplies that are less dependent on global trade.  

Danube Soya has developed in recent years into a leading driver of the development of legume cropping and use in Europe.  This includes investing in relevant public research and participating in wider research activities, particularly in the European Union's Horizon 2020 Programme.  To promote collaboration in Europe, Danube Soya initiated the European Legume Improvement Alliance which brings together leading European research organisations in this area.  Since its earliest days in 2012, Danube Soya has explored cooperation with Chinese scientists and is now been considering how to maximise the long-term impact of this collaboration as part of Danube Soya's wider activities.  This MoU now extents the European partnership to China forming the Chinese-European Legume Improvement Alliance (C-ELIA).  The collaboration includes the following specific activities:

  • The establishment of a Europe-China Council for Protein Crops and Products
  • Collaboration in research jointly supported by the European Commission and the CAAS
  • The promotion of scientific exchanges between China and Europe
  • Scientific meetings
  • Developing new common approaches to market challenges

In particular, the parties agreed to fully support each other in proposing and conducting research under the European Union's FAB Flagship Initiative between China and Europe within Horizon 2020 Programme.  The MoU covers activities that include:

  • Establishment of a Europe-China Council with Danube Soya providing the Council Secretariat.
  • Close collaboration between the CAAS and Danube Soya within Horizon 2020.
  • Exchanges of scientists through study visits. These exchanges will foster joint working and exchange of resources.
  • The partners will exchange information and know-how relevant to recognizing quality differences in markets.

The signing of the MoU on 9 November was the culmination of discussions between the CAAS and Danube Soya that started in 2012.  The MoU itself was prepared by Dr Donal Murphy-Bokern from the Danube Soya Scientific Board and Prof. Lijuan Qiu from the CAAS Institute for Crop Science who is a world leader in soy genetics and improvement.

Matthias Krön, Prof. Lijuan Qiu and Prof. Wei Fang at the CAAS ICS Seed Bank

The signing ceremony was followed by a two day Workshop between a wide range of experts from across China led by Prof. Qiu.  They discussed scientific challenges and ways forward with Donal Murphy-Bokern and Matthias Krön forming the basis of a new chapter in cooperation between Europe and China in the development of legume crops.

Donal Murphy-Bokern (donal(at) is available to provide further information on research plans under this agreement.