International Profile

In the early 20th century, Nanking University, the predecessor of NAU, established links with many well-known universities, most prominently Cornell University in the United States. In 1925, three professors from the Department of Plant Breeding at Cornell began a unique collaborative project with Nanking University. The program was based on the premise that a small number of highly qualified scientists working with their Chinese counterparts could bring about a dramatic improvement in crop production. The resounding success and implications of this modest program was described in The Cornell-Nanking Story, and served as a template for subsequent exchange programs at Cornell.

Beginning with China’s reforms and modernizations, NAU has been increasingly active in international exchange and cooperation. In 1980, NAU reestablished ties with Cornell University and signed a cooperative agreement with the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell. Currently, NAU maintains ties with over 150 universities and research institutes around the world, including more than 70 with which it has signed institutional agreements.


Through inter-institutional exchange and cooperation, new initiatives for cooperative research are being fostered at NAU. Since 2001, NAU has participated in more than 70 international collaborative research programs and established several international research centers on the NAU campus, including:

Sino-US Joint Research Center for Food Safety and Quality

NAU-Cornell International Technology Transfer Center

NAU-UCDavis One Health Center

Sino-Australian Joint Center for Food Security

Sino-Dutch Center for Land Planning & Cadastre Development

OIE Reference Laboratory

The 111 Project was launched by the Chinese Ministry of Education and State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs to promote joint research activities on sustainability in agriculture, food safety and security, bio-resource conservation and diversity, and other global issues. NAU is conducting four 111 Projects:

Reducing Agricultural Devastation

Crop Genetics & Germplasm Enhancement

Biology of Agricultural Resources and Environment

The Quality & Safety Control and Nutrition of Muscle Food

Research supported by the 111 Project enables NAU faculty to develop and maintain long-term cooperative relationships with noted overseas scholars, while participation in the Project bolsters the university’s efforts to strengthen academic disciplines and enhance core competencies.

Since 2000, NAU has also successfully received funding from a number of European Union programs including the Framework Plan (FP), Erasmus Mundus Program, Asian Facility Program, and Asian Link Program. Major areas of research cover food safety and quality, land use and resource economics, soil biophysics, and animal nutrition.


NAU also works closely with organizations under the United Nations, including the Food and Agricultural Organization, United Nations Development Programme and International Atomic Energy Agency.