Biofuel Opportunities key to Co-operation with Cape Breton University

Dr. H. John Harker, President and Vice-Chancellor of Cape Breton University (Nova Scotia/Canada), who will be visiting Henan Agricultural University (HAU) on July 6, sees significant potential in biofuels as a source of shared research that will foster Chinese and Canadian co-operation.

One of Dr. Harker’s greatest interests is that of renewable energy. His background in energy development and sustainability has seen him invited to meet with senior industry leaders worldwide. International research partnerships for faculty and students are critical to meeting such challenges. In addressing its own commitment, Cape Breton University has recently opened its remarkable Verschuren Centre, a state-of the-art research facility that combines academic and industrial expertise to explore and develop solutions related to sustainability in energy and the environment. 

Dr. Harker noted at the time of the official opening that “The Verschuren Centre was conceived on the premise of building the future by looking to the past.”  As he prepares to leave for his visit to HAU, he adds, “It is clear that both countries and both universities share a commitment to rich histories that will create legacies that advance environmental research and innovation.”  With more than 400 Chinese students studying at CBU and the two visits made in October 2011 by Chinese delegations, CBU is most interested in combining the capabilities and facilities of both institutions to further relevant research agendas.  Currently CBU is converting its forty year old coal-fired heating plant to one that can efficiently burn biomass, comprised of renewable and recycled resources resulting in reduced emissions. Exploration of new technologies specific to renewable energy is underway with plans to transition the CBU campus into one that will be energy self-sufficient.

Under Dr. Harker’s leadership, Cape Breton University has enjoyed an excellent working relationship with several Chinese educational partners and experienced significant growth in Chinese students on its Canadian campus.  Having a valued history of engagement with China has seen Cape Breton University open its own office in China, the first by any Canadian university.

CBU’s Beijing office was further strengthened by a formal agreement of cooperation with the International Centre for Cooperation (ICC) of the National Development and Reform Commission of China.  One of CBU’s significant partners has been HAU and the two universities have been working together since 2006. A highlight of the relationship was the privilege of a visit by President Zhang in May of 2011. The articulation-based partnership fulfills the requirements of the Education Law of the Peoples Republic of China, while strengthening cooperative policies in education, introducing foreign advanced educational thinking and management experiences as well as international exchange opportunities for HAU students.

To further achieve this research co-operation between the two countries and two universities, Dr. Harker will announce that CBU’s prestigious Needham Fellowship will be bestowed on a HAU researcher in 2013. This fellowship encourages greater research interaction to appropriately commemorate the pioneering work of Dr. Joseph Needham, who first promoted an appreciation of the history and strength of Chinese Science to the western world. 

The 2012 Needham Fellowship was awarded to a faculty member, Dr. Kang Wenze, of the Heilongjiang Institute of Science and Technology who has special expertise in clean carbon energy. Both individuals will be welcomed at Cape Breton University to conduct collaborative research with Verschuren Centre experts in areas of study related to clean carbon energy, mine water management, renewable energy and environmental remediation. “Fostering exchanges of concepts, new thinking and technology is valuable for all partners.  Where world summits fail, universities can succeed,” adds Harker.

Read the China Daily news story.