Farmland Irrigation Research Institute(FIRI) of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences(CAAS) was founded in 1959-the only national scientific research institution in irrigation and drainage in my country. FIRI plays an important part in the national scientific and technological innovation system, focusing on applied basic research and applied technology research and development. The theory of crop efficient water use, new technologies and equipment of irrigation and drainage, agricultural and rural water ecological protection and green farmland ecosystems are centered around to organize and implement major national scientific research projects. FIRI puts forth effort to solve major scientific and technological problems in the construction of farmland water conservancy and irrigation projects in our country, cultivate scientific and technological talents in farmland water conservancy and irrigation engineering, and promote scientific research results and advanced irrigation and drainage technologies.
Scientific and Technological Innovation
Over the past 60 years since its establishment, FIRI insist on innovation-driven development with the development concept of “rooting in North China, facing the nation, and integrating into the world”. FIRI has achieved a number of original innovative technological breakthroughs to meet with the major needs of country's agricultural and rural water conservancy development and the irrigation and drainage industry. FIRI has undertaken more than 500 scientific research projects at national and provincial level, and achieved more than 170 scientific research results, of which 12 achievements have won national science and technology awards and more than 90 achievements have received provincial awards. FIRI has granted more than 380 various patents, published more than 190 monographs and translations and more than 2,400 academic papers in domestic and foreign journals, developed more than 100 new technologies and products. The application area of the results has reached more than 8 million acres. FIRI has created great social economy benefit, more than 10 billion and has been widely given credit for important contributions to the development agricultural irrigation of China.
Scientific Research Platform
FIRI has established four provincial key laboratories: the Key Laboratory of Water-saving Irrigation Engineering of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs(MARA), the Key Laboratory of Crop Water Use and Regulation of MOA, the Agricultural Product Quality and Safety Water Environmental Factor Risk Assessment Laboratory of MARA, and the Key Laboratory of Water-saving Agriculture of Henan Province. There are 9 provincial and ministerial science and technology platforms, including Shangqiu Farmland Ecosystem National Field Science Observation and Research Station of Henan, Shangqiu Agricultural Environmental Science Observation and Experiment Station of MARA, Xinxiang Irrigation Experiment Field Science Observation and Research Station of the Ministry of Water Resources(MWR), the Irrigation Experiment Station of MWR, the Quality Inspection Center for Water-saving Irrigation Equipment of MWR. There are 4 professional experiment bases in Xinxiang and Shangqiu, with experiment and demonstration area of more than 130 acres and top infrastructures in domestic such as sprinkler irrigation test field, sprinkler and micro-irrigation hydraulic test hall, crop water requirement test field, and infiltration lysimeter observation field. In addition, FIRI has experimental demonstration sites in Henan, Hebei, Hunan, Gansu, Ningxia, Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, Heilongjiang and other provinces, which plays a leading role in China's farmland water conservancy construction.
Discipline Construction and Talent
The subject areas of FIRI primarily consists of agricultural water resources and agricultural irrigation and drainage engineering, around which, there set a series of research direction: optimal allocation and regulation technique of agriculture water resources, crop water requirement and regulation, optimum utilization of unconventional water, principles and technologies for deficit irrigation and new-tech research direction and water-saving irrigation technology and equipment, farmland drainage technology and equipment, and water-saving project of modern irrigation district and rural water supply and drainage and water recycling utilization projects. At present, there are seven scientific and technological innovation teams: Crop Water Requirement and Regulation, Principles and Technologies for Deficit Irrigation, Safety Utilization of Unconventional Water Resources, Optimal Allocation and Regulation Technique of Agricultural Water Resources, Efficient Water-saving Irrigation Technology & Equipment, Modernising and Renovating Water-saving Irrigation Districts, and Farmland Drainage Technology and Products. The innovation team aims to “serve the practice of water-saving agriculture in China and lead the development of irrigation and drainage technology in China”, in order to build "the world-class modern research institute".
By September 2020, FIRI has a staff of 123, including 22 researchers and 36 associate researchers,of whom 50 have Doctor’s Degrees and 56 have Master’s Degrees, with a Doctorate degree and Master degree conferrable spot for Agricultural Water and Soil Engineering, a Master degree conferrable spot for Management Science and Engineering, a postdoctoral mobile workstation of Agricultural Water-Soil Engineering, and an academician workstation of Water-saving Agriculture in Henan. At present, there are 10 PhD supervisor and 37 Master supervisor in FIRI.
Domestic Research Collaboration
FIRI has led the establishment of the National Irrigated Agriculture Green Development Alliance with more than 90 units, including universities, scientific research institutes, technology extension departments, and enterprises across the country, aiming to solve the strategic, basic and key scientific and technological problems in the development of modern irrigated agriculture in China and develop agriculture collaborative innovation, integrated demonstration and shared services in agricultural irrigation and drainage, agricultural water and soil environment and rural water ecological management in agriculture and rural area. Over two years since its establishment, the alliance has focused on major needs of irrigated agriculture, gathering superior research strength and scientific and technological resources. It has promoted original innovation, collaborative innovation, management innovation and transformation of achievements and achieved innovation-driven modern agricultural development, with a series of collaborative innovation mechanisms, such as government support, task driving, resource sharing, and mechanism promotion. At the same time, FIRI cooperates with Hebei University of Engineering, North China University of Water Resources and Electric Power, Henan Agricultural University, Henan Institute of Science and Technology, Henan Normal University and other universities for joint education of graduate students, while it is also a teaching practice base for undergraduates in many universities.
International Cooperation and Communication
By co-applying for projects, FIRI carries out scientific research cooperation and communication with more than 20 world-renowned research institutions and universities, such as Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Agricultural Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture, Wageningen University in the Netherlands, Rothamsted Research in the United Kingdom, James Hutton Institute, Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences, the University of Sydney in Australia, the University of Tasmania in Australia, the University of Tokyo in Japan, as well as countries along the "Belt and Road", through joint application for projects, holding international seminars, cooperative research, joint construction of scientific and technological cooperation platforms, technical assistance and other flexible and diverse cooperation modes. FIRI aims to improve the research level itself, promote the disciplinary construction, cultivate international scientific research talents and teams, and improve the academic research of the international influence and popularity. Up to now, 126 batches of more than 170 people have been sent to abroad for academic exchanges and visits, participating in important international conferences in related fields and actively giving keynote speeches at the forums, to enhance international academic exchanges. FIRI has received more than 380 experts and scholars in 89 batches from more than 40 countries and regions for academic visit, exchange and lectures. In addition, FIRI initiated and hosted the "Agri-hydrological Model and Precision Water Management Workshop".