Research and Collaboration

International agricultural research platform for sustainable food production

Project Description

The international joint research project ‘Establishment of an International Agricultural Research Platform for Sustainable Food Production’ was started in 2022. The project consists of four researchers at the Graduate School of Agriculture Science, Kobe University. Using the three-year Kobe University Strategic International Collaborative Research Grant (Type B: Fostering Joint Research), the researchers involved will develop their own ongoing international joint research with overseas researchers that have extensive experience in their respective areas. The four focused research topics are on the following agronomically important traits and methodologies in plants:

1) Hybrid vigor; an important trait for improving yield,
2) Domestication; the clarification of this process can open up new possibilities for the improvement of existing varieties,
3) Disease resistance; which is essential for breeding varieties. Its importance has increased in recent years due to the serious threat to food security posed by new transboundary diseases that are spreading due to changes in the environment. Effective molecular breeding will likely be possible on a global scale if the mechanisms behind the above three traits can be illuminated.
4) Pre-breeding of genetic resources: This aims to efficiently integrate useful alleles from closely related wild species into crops. Therefore, it is expected that this methodology will restore the breeding potential of elite varieties that have become genetically uniform in the process of modern breeding. This will ensure stable food production, hopefully ending global hunger in the future.

Though the project, we will create synergies among these four research topics to enable us to establish an international agricultural research platform, thus contributing towards our efforts to achieve global sustainable food production.

Comments from the Project Leader

Professor FUJIMOTO Ryo (Professor of the Graduate School of Agriculture Science)

Our research topics for this project align with internationally-highlighted research subjects for the ‘realization of sustainable food production’. In this context, this international joint research is of extremely high importance. Joint research with overseas researchers who are enthusiastically working on these subjects is expected to have a mutually beneficial synergistic effect on progress and results. Through multidisciplinary exchanges among Kobe University’s researchers and with overseas researchers, we will create future cross-disciplinary co-creative teams; establishing a platform for international joint research.

International Collaboration

As shown on the map, we have collaborated with researchers in a range of countries through various grant schemes (see the lists of collaborators and awarded grants below).

We will expand our international network of researchers who share the same interests through the following collaborative activities;

1) Organize hybrid-style seminars between overseas researchers’ affiliated institutions and Kobe University.
2) Provide opportunities for students to travel abroad to present their research, which will also improve students’ international outlook.
3) Foster the next generation of leaders who will lead the way in solving the issues facing society in the near future.

List of Collaborators (only the name of each institution is listed)
1. Australia
  • - Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
  • - The University of Western Australia

2. UK
  • - John Innes Centre
  • - The Sainsbury Laboratory
  • - University College London
  • - University of Warwick
  • - University of Hertfordshire

3. Georgia
  • - Agricultural University of Georgia

4. Iran
  • - National Plant Gene bank

5. Mexico
  • - International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT)

6. Myanmar
  • - Yezin Agricultural University

7. Cambodia
  • - Cambodian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI)

8. Bangladesh
  • - Bangladesh Agricultural University
  • - Sylhet International University

9. South Korea
  • - Sunchon National University

10. China
  • - Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences
Grant list
1. JSPS Bilateral Join Research Program
  • - Title: Analysis of the molecular mechanism of heterosis in Brassica
    2014-2016 (Australia; CSIRO) Ryo Fujimoto
  • - Title: Elucidating the mechanism of hybrid vigor controlled by DNA methylation in Brassicaceae
    2017-2019 (Australia; CSIRO) Ryo Fujimoto

2. JSPS KAKENHI (Promotion of International Joint Research)
  • - Title: Evaluation of the process of rice domestication based on loss of seed shattering
    2016-2019 (UK; UCL, University of Warwick) Ryo Ishikawa
  • - Title: Epigenome analysis in the commercial F1 hybrid cultivar in Chinese cabbage
    2017-2019 (Australia; CSIRO) Ryo Fujimoto

3. JSPS KAKENHI (Fostering Joint International Research (B))
  • - Title: New genetic resource development and advanced breeding through connecting the Japanese wheat research resources to a renowned international agricultural research institute 2019-2024 (Mexico, CIMMYT) Yoshihiro Matsuoka

Information on related research facilities