The world’s first China-Portugal Joint Laboratory for Marine and Environmental Sciences has opened in the University of St Joseph (USJ), highlighting Macau’s position in bridging the two cultures through science.
According to the university, the project is the result of a Memorandum of Understanding for cooperation between China and Portugal via the Institute of Science and Environment of the University of Saint Joseph (ISE-USJ), the Centre of Biotechnology and Fine Chemistry of the Catholic University of Portugal (CBQF-UCP), the Portuguese Institute of the Sea and Atmosphere (IPMA), and the Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (IOCAS).
The MoU focuses on developing cooperation in the areas of marine and environmental sciences.
Explaining the significance of the laboratory, the university noted that it is intended to foster scientific cooperation between Portugal and China, through Macau, in the fields of marine and environmental sciences, promoting the development of a sustainable blue economy for the future.
The project is organized around four main research axes: ecosystem change, ecological disasters, mariculture development and the utilization of bio-resources. The university hopes future research results will be capable of helping improve marine ecosystem health and support the blue economy of the two countries.
It was explained that ISE focuses on the study of the physiology and behavior of marine organisms under a scenario of global change and anthropogenic pressures, and the conservation of coastal ecosystems, with long-term links with Chinese and Portuguese entities.
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.
In addition, 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, the Azores, and Madeira.