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Hydrocolloids research at Glyndŵr University extends to central China

The Wrexham-based "Glyn O. Phillips Hydrocolloids Research Centre" (PHRC) at Glyndŵr University has decided to expand its operations and set up a second research centre, this time in central China.

The new centre will be based in the College of Bioengineering at Hubei University of Technology in the city of Wuhan. The Chinese university will provide all the financial resources necessary for this new development, which will include fully equipped laboratories with specialised equipment.

The research itself will be directed from Wales with the research staff including technical staff, post-doctoral fellows, postgraduate students and visiting specialist staff coming from Hubei. It is hoped that this close relationship between the partners will lead to the research conducted at the centre being of a truly international quality.

Many food companies use hydrocolloids which are naturally occurring substances which improve the health value of foods and can lead also to new medical applications. The centre hopes to encourage these businesses in China and elsewhere to take part in the centre’s research activities.

The centre will be officially opened during a Symposium entitled  "New Opportunities in Hydrocolloids" which will take place between 1 and 4 November 2010 in Hubei. The symposium will attract top international specialists and the occasion will provide an opportunity for companies and scientists to interact and look to the future together. The opening ceremony itself will be performed by Professor Dr Endre A. Balazs, the world’s leading scientist in hyaluronan science. He was the first scientist to produce this remarkable hydrocolloid for the treatment of arthritis, eye surgery and cosmetic use. This biomedical hydrocolloid is a specialist area of research for PHRC.

Professor Glyn O. Phillips, recently returned after visiting China to complete the agreement said: “We must now give close attention to the remarkable growth in Chinese fundamental and applied science. This new partner research centre will allow us to access expertise and materials from China to improve our work in producing new products for the food and biomedical industries, It is a great opportunity for us to further extend our global network, which already includes joint ventures in Canada, Malaysia. USA and several European countries.”

Glyndŵr University will play a prominent role in the collaboration and will be represented at the opening by Professor Graeme Wilkinson, Pro Vice-Chancellor. Plans are now well underway to finalise a university-university agreement which will be ratified at the opening. The agreement will enable students from China to study at Glyndŵr University.

The Vice-Chancellor of Glyndŵr University, Professor Michael Scott welcomed the development, saying: “The opening of this new centre in China represents a major step forward for the work of the Glyn O Phillips Hydrocolloid Research Centre at Glyndŵr University and demonstrates that the University is establishing itself firmly within the international university research community. It is also a symbol of the growing importance of China in research and education throughout the world.”

“The research that takes place at the two centres, both here in Wales and now in China, is important practical research. Hydrocolloids are important ingredients for healthy foods and for medical biomaterials. Thus almost everyone can benefit from the research that has been undertaken at the University here in North Wales. The University, through the work of this research centre and other activities is making a significant contribution to the economic development of Wales.”

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