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KNOXVILLE—The U.S. Department of State has selected the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, the 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

Lee Riedinger, UT physics professor and director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education, represents UT at the signing ceremony establishing the US-China EcoPartnership. To Riedinger’s left are the other signers: Purdue University President France A. Córdova; Cheng-Hu Zhou, deputy director of the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research; and Gui-Bin Jiang, deputy director of the Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences.

posed by alternative energy development and climate change.

Purdue will lead the EcoPartnership, which grew from the UT–based China–US Joint Research Center for Ecosystem and Environmental Change (JRCEEC). JRCEEC is a partnership among UT’s Institute for a Secure and Sustainable Environment, the UT-ORNL Joint Institute for Biological Sciences, Purdue University’s Center for the Environment, several units of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), and the University of Science and Technology of China. JRCEEC was established in 2006.

A formal signing ceremony announcing the EcoPartnership agreement is planned for Tuesday, May 10, in Washington, DC, in connection with the third–annual US–China Strategic and Economic Dialogue event.

“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 Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek.

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

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was a guest speaker at the EcoPartnership signing. She is seated in the center, front row. UT Knoxville's Lee Riedinger is fourth from the left, back row.

director of Purdue’s Center for the Environment

and US 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 thirteen existing and five other new EcoPartnerships sanctioned by the U.S. Department of State 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.


David Brill (865-974-1178, dbrill1@utk.edu)