Strategic alliance between VIB and North Carolina State University offers growth potential to Agrotech clusters in Flanders and North Carolina

5 April 2016
​VIB and North Carolina State University (NC State) are proud to announce their strategic collaboration agreement. Both knowledge institutes are internationally leading players in plant biotech research. This combined with their strong interaction with their local Agrotech Clusters (respectively the Ghent Agro Cluster (Belgium) and the AgBio[sphere] in Research Triangle Park (US)) makes them unique partners within the global AgBiotech ecosystem. With this collaboration VIB and NC State want to combine the best of both worlds by exchanging researchers, starting collaborations and setting up new companies together. This collaboration offers growth potential in the sector both in Belgium and in North Carolina.

Johan Cardoen (Managing Director, VIB): “We are very much looking forward to this partnership with NC State. I am convinced that this alliance will open new research paths and will create new opportunities to boost the growth of both AgBiotech clusters, which represent world-leading innovation clusters in plant science.”

Richard Linton (Dean, NC State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences): “We recognize that VIB and the industrial companies overseas have powerful and effective partnerships, and we want to understand how they have developed those partnerships so we can build such partnerships here. Not only that, through this partnership with VIB, we will be developing the plant scientists of tomorrow in a way that is truly multidisciplinary and that enables students to gain an international perspective and expertise that will make them even more valuable to their future employers.”

Areas of research collaboration
VIB and NC State will focus on collaborations in the field of the influence of the soil microbiome on plants, plant breeding, systems and synthetic biology, field phenotyping, precision agriculture and related sciences.

Dirk Inzé (Director, Plant Systems Biology Department VIB/UGent): “VIB and NC State have complementary expertise. By working together we will create significant synergy not only at the academic level but also in the translation of results towards biotechnological innovations in agriculture.”

Steve Lommel (Associate Dean, NC State College and Agriculture and Life Sciences; and Director, North Carolina Agricultural Research Service): “VIB has an excellent model for developing basic science discoveries that lead to startup companies, while we have a strong model for taking basic research and applying it to agricultural problems. So we see this as a win-win relationship, one that will benefit both VIB and NC State – as well as the agriculture and ag biotech industries – and we are excited about the partnership.”