Three projects in Bio -Asia programs launched on March 25-26, 2013 at Hanoi University of Science and Technology (HUST) in Vietnam

Three projects involving IRD research units have been selected for the 2013 BIO-ASIA program. In order to develop their synergies, the kick-off meeting of their project was launched on March 25-26, 2013 at HUST in Hanoi, Vietnam.

The Bio-Asia Regional Program is a French cooperation initiative targeting Asia in order to promote high-level networking collaboration in the region. The thematic selected for 2013 include the biodiversity, the sustainable uses of natural substances in health care, nutrition, agronomy, cosmetics and renewable energies. Each project must include at least one French team and at least two teams from two different Asian countries. Emphasis is given to the education, thanks to the master student exchange programs between partners’ countries.

This cooperation program is co-funded by IRD, which based its research policy on regional integrated partnerships.

Three projects involving IRD teams have been selected for 2013 – 2014:

- The BIOVECTROL project (“Studies on natural bio-insecticides from Southeast Asian plant biodiversity to control malaria and dengue vectors”) is aiming at developing bio-insecticides through the study of South-East Asian plants, particularly from Cambodia and Thailand, in order to elaborate efficient and environmentally respectful programs of control of malaria and dengue vectors. This project associates IRD and the University Aix-Marseille in France, Kasetsart University of Bangkok in Thailand and the University of Health Sciences of Phnom Penh in Cambodia. The project coordinator is Sylvie Manguin (MD3 research unit).

- The ESTAFS project (“Ethnobotany for Sustainable Therapy in Aquaculture and Food Safety”) is based on the traditional knowledge of Asian (Vietnam and Indonesia)  small-scale fish farmers, in order to find alternative to antibiotic treatments massively used in fish farming, thus having an impact on the environment and food chain safety. In France IRD (I-SEM research unit) and CIRAD (Qualisud research unit) are partners; the Research Institute for Fresh Water Aquaculture (BALITBANG KP), placed under the Ministry of Marine Affairs and the Institut Pertanian Bogor (IPB) in Indonesia and in Vietnam, Hanoi University of Science and Technology (HUST) and Hanoi University of Agriculture (HUA). Domenico Caruso (UMR IRD I-SEM) assures the project coordination.

- The PHARMACOOP project (Pharmacochemistry and Pharmacology for Development) aims to create an inter-university network dedicated to the study of traditional pharmacopoeias of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. The Faculties of Pharmacy of the Health Sciences University of Cambodia, the Health Sciences University of Lao, the Joint University of Pharmacy and Medicine of Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi in Vietnam are part of this network, including in France the UMR152 PharmaDEV IRD-Université de Toulouse III. This network aims at finding new bioactive molecules with therapeutic potential, through the study of traditional pharmacopeas. Eric Deharo and Françoise Nepveu (Pharma-Dev research unit) coordinate this project.

Through this meeting, it was highlighted that, despite that the projects covers three distinct areas of study (aquaculture, vector control and health care), all had a strong ethnobotanical component, thus sharing the same common methodology and the same starting point: the survey among locals population aiming to document the traditional use of plants to treat specific diseases and repel mosquitoes. Besides, as the three projects share partners, studied area and disciplines, this joint meeting has enhanced the development of synergies.

The Bio-Asia projects are subsidized by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs during two years and co-funded by IRD.

During this meeting, HUST have also presented an overview on its research and training activities related to food quality and safety as well as the Pre-project for Interuniversity Scientific Cooperation (PCSI ) entitled “Exploring Vegetal and Microbial Diversity and Technological Innovation to Ensure Food Quality and Safety” funded by the Agency for French Speaking Universities (AUF) for two years 2013-2014. Chu-Ky Son working at the School of Biotechnology and Food Technology (SBFT) will be the coordinator of the PCSI project.

This PCSI involves a series of strategic and measurable objectives in order to support the research activities carried out in the field of vegetal and microbial diversity related to food quality and safety. The PCSI has set itself the following key objectives listed as follows:

- To establish expert working groups to coordinate research and training activities to contribute by identifying research agendas for future community research in the field of vegetal and microbial diversity related to food quality and safety.

- To formulate suggestions for relevant research topics. The expert working groups will make suggestions for coming up research topics in the field. Furthermore, the consortium has the objective to co-operate and contribute to the following technology Platforms, especially those which have vegetal and microbial diversity, food quality and safety as part of their Strategic Research Agenda: Food for Life; Plants for the Future; Bioactive Compounds and Sanitation.

  • To organise the International Workshop “”Exploring Biodiversity for Sustainable Development in South East Asia (EBSEA 2013) ( http://ebsea.hust.edu.vn
  • To integrate experts from New Members other than French speaking partners
  • To disseminate research results through an online platform and to establish new project proposals
  • To initiate and set-up a researchers exchange programme
More details can be obtained in the PCSI project:  http://pcsi2013.hust.edu.vn 
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 Prof To Kim Anh, director of SBFT, welcomed delegates and participants from three Bio Asia projects and PCSI project at the meeting at HUST on March 26, 2013
 
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Dr Samira Sarter, CIRAD senior researcher, presented CIRAD-HUST collaborative work involved in BioAsia project