Technology Centre funding results in international connections

May 31, 1999 - 5:00pm

Closer ties with an international university--that’s the result of an applied research project funded by the Technology Transfer Centre that links a Malaspina faculty member and a professor from Japan.

Since August, 1998, Kevin Jones of Malapsina’s Horticulture department has been working with Professor Yushi Hida to conduct research at the Tamagawa Research Station, a facility in Cedar owned by a private university in Tokyo.

Jones and Hida are studying two plants native to BC--the rhododendron and the hairy manzanita shrub. (The latter resembles a small arbutus tree.)

"Both plants have commercial possibilities according to BC Nursery Trade Association," says Jones. "At the moment, they grow wild in BC. We’re collecting cuttings from Westwood Lake, Rhododendron Lake and Copper Canyon (near Chemainus) and are propagating them."

The cuttings are placed in soil at the research station where Jones and Hida experiment with humidity, temperature and light levels.

"Our purpose is to collect data on propagation techniques which we’ll share with growers," says Jones. "We want to give nursery operators a new plant to sell for local and export markets."

Tamagawa University has been conducting research at its research station in Cedar for 20 years. "They’ve been growing Asian and Japanese vegetables in our climate," says Jones. "They wanted to become more connected with the local community, so they approached the Technology Transfer Centre to develop the research project."

The Technology Transfer Centre, located at the Nanaimo campus, supports local industry by linking the resources of the University-College with the region’s industries.

The Centre provided funding that enabled Jones a few hours of release time, each week, from his teaching duties at Malaspina to work on the project. "Without the Centre’s assistance, this collaborative research project wouldn’t have happened," he says.

The project is forging closer ties between Malaspina and an international university, says Jones. The partnership may lead to exchange programs between students or other collaborative applied research projects.

"This has proven to be a good test to see how well we work together."

For more information about Malaspina’s Technology Transfer Centre call (250) 741-2687.

Tags: In the Community

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