The Forest Molecular Genetics (FMG) Programme and FABI hosted a visit by a high level delegation, welcoming representatives from several Government departments and industry associations.

The FMG Programme is one of the flagship genomics platforms funded by the Department of Science and Technology's (DST) Biotechnology Programme and the visit gave all delegates first hand insight into the research being conducted by the FMG at FABI.

The delegates included the Deputy Director General: Technology Innovation of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Dr Mmboneni Muofhe as well as senior representatives from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), Department of Public Enterprises (DPE), the University of Pretoria, Forestry South Africa, Sappi, the ARC and GrainSA.

The DST is currently identifying suitable research platforms to fund under the new Bio-Economy Strategy and the FMG’s partnership is held up as one of the most successful partnering of University (academia), industry and Government institutions to conduct world-class scientific research.

The guests were welcomed by the University of Pretoria’s Vice Principal for Institutional Planning, Prof Anton Ströh, while the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences was represented by the Deputy Dean of Research and Postgraduate Studies, Prof. Brenda Wingfield.

FMG Director, Prof. Zander Myburg presented a brief overview of the FMG Programme and its many successes as well as outlining the lessons learnt from this programme and how these can be used to foster similar research programmes in other commercial biomass crops in South Africa. He is a recent recipient of the TW Kambule – National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF) Award for research and outputs over the last 5-10 years by an individual for his outstanding overall contribution to forest molecular genetics research.