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The US State Department has selected the University of Tennessee, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Purdue University as participants in one of six new US-China EcoPartnerships. The partnerships will spur collaboration among US and Chinese researchers and focus on sustainability issues in the two nations, including the environmental challenges posed by alternative energy development and climate change. Purdue will lead the Eco-Partnership.

photograph of clinton addressing ceremony

A formal signing ceremony announcing the EcoPartnership agreement was held Tuesday, May 10, in Washington, D.C., in connection with the third annual U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue event. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was a guest speaker at the EcoPartnership signing.

“The University of Tennessee is eager to join with others across the nation and the world to share best practices that will have a positive impact on the environment and the economy,” said Jimmy G. Cheek, chancellor of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

photograph of ecopartnership ceremony

The EcoPartnership, a five-year initiative, will focus on joint research aimed at addressing the combined effects of climate change, renewable energy and human activities on regional and global ecosystems. Research teams also will explore technologies that would aid in restoring damaged ecosystems.

“Through this global initiative, we plan to offer joint research projects, academic exchange, student education and technology transfer and training that includes business development and entrepreneurship,” said John Bickham, executive director of Purdue’s Center for the Environment and U.S. team leader for the EcoPartnership.

The UT/ORNL/Purdue partners will collaborate with Chinese researchers at CAS’ Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences and the Institute of Applied Ecology.

“By transitioning to the EcoPartnership program, JRCEEC will formally interact with the 13 existing and five other new EcoPartnerships sanctioned by the U.S. State Department and the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission,” Bickham said.

UT and ORNL researchers will participate in the EcoPartnership’s kickoff event, “Global Sustainability Issues in Energy, Climate, Water and Environment,” which is planned for September 26-29 at Purdue.

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