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Visit to South Korea and China for ICPP meeting August 2013.
I was invited to contribute an oral presentation in the “Mycotoxins” session at the ICPP Conference in Beijing in August. I decided to kill two birds with one stone and arranged an additional trip to South Korea prior to this. I and a colleague from PRI, Holland (Dr Jurgen Kohl) were invited to present seminars at Chonnam University, Gwanju, South Korea and at the Korean Food and Drug Administration on “Mycotoxins and Climate Change” and “Biocontrol strategies” respectively. This was organised by Prof H. B. Lee, from Chonnam University, a previous post-doc from my lab in Cranfield more than a decade ago. This was an interesting visit both from a scientific point of view and socially.
The facilities, especially at the Korean FDA were very impressive. Eating traditional Korean food with metal chop sticks was a challenge which we were able to overcome eventually!! We then returned to Seoul and travelled to Beijing for the ICPP meeting. We were able to take the “shuttle” service from Beijing airport to the Conference Centre, arriving at the end of the opening reception event. The hotel (Media Centre) was right opposite the Birds nest Stadium which looked impressive at night.
The Keynote sessions revolved around the “Food Security” Agenda and implications for sustainable food supply and the changes which might occur in terms of changes in diseases, epidemiology and cultivar resistance to diseases, especially staple crops such as rice. These were well attended and were largely interesting. The parallel sessions and the poster sessions were the “meat” of the conference. It was unfortunate that often parallel sessions of interest were at the same time which created logistical problems for me and many colleagues.
I was roped into co-chairing the “Mycotoxins” session with Prof Battilani from Italy. The session was well attended and went relatively smoothly, despite some substitution of Chinese speakers at the last minute.
I was pleased to meet up with colleagues from all over the world, including the UK and Europe. I had the chance to meet up with Prof Mike Jones, from Murdock University, Western Australia, who worked at Rothamsted Research previously. He looked the same as he did in Christchurch 10 years earlier!!! Overall, this was an interesting and useful conference, facilitating the making of contacts in China and further afield. Some may have felt that it was perhaps dominated by Chinese scientists and students. However, overall I thought the conference was well organised with many helpers (perhaps too many) to ensure that things went smoothly. I took the opportunity of visiting the Forbidden City, the Buddhist temples (a highlight for us) and of course the Great Wall.
This was a very worthwhile scientific experience and I would like to thank the BSPP for their very generous support, which made this visit to South Korea and China possible.
Naresh Magan Cranfield University.