Professor Zhang Jianhua, Dean of the Faculty of Science and Chair Professor of the Department of Biology of HKBU, collaborated on a project with a team from Yangzhou University, Mainland China and received the 2017 State Natural Science Award (Second Class)

conferred by the State Council of China.

The Award was presented to honour their outstanding contributions to scientific advancement through their project entitled "Regulation and physiological mechanism in enhancing the remobilization of assimilates to grain and grain-filling in rice and wheat".

Professor Zhang was delighted to receive the prestigious prize. He said: "It is my honour to receive this national recognition. The Award does not only recognise our concerted efforts on this impactful research topic conducted jointly with Professor Yang Jianchang of Yangzhou University over the past 18 years, it also provides impetus for our forthcoming research". 

"It has been decades since scientists began to examine the challenge of food security in the face of population growth. The problem of water shortages looms ever closer. It's a global issue that we must examine thoroughly. Our research is motivated by our desire to improve the irrigation method for rice to enhance grain filling and reduce water use," added Professor Zhang.

Professor Zhang is an internationally renowned scholar and an expert in the areas of plant stress physiology and water-saving cultivation of field crops. Over the years, he has dedicated himself to research into plant molecular mechanisms and gene expressions when water stress affects crop production. He was selected by renowned scientific journal Nature as one of the "five crop researchers who could change the world" in December 2008 for his research focusing primarily on areas in northern China which has helped farmers save up to 30 percent of irrigated water while maintaining the same crop yield.

The State Natural Science Awards, China's most prestigious honour in natural science, are conferred on outstanding individuals and institutions for their significant contributions to the development of natural science.