Institute of Millet

The Millet Research Institute (MRI) of Shanxi Agricultural University, was formerly known as the “JinJiLuYu Border Bureau of Agriculture and Forestry” established in 1942. In 1979, it was reassigned to the Shanxi Academy of Agricultural Sciences and became the first professional millet research institute in China. In December 2019, Shanxi Agricultural University and Shanxi Academy of Agricultural Sciences jointly reformed, and MRI became a research institute directly under Shanxi Agricultural University. Over 80 years of development, it has bloomed into a crop research institute with strong scientific and technological teams, fruitful scientific research achievements, outstanding professional advantages, distinct local characteristics from an agricultural experimental farm.

At the present, MRI’s is mainly engaged in the development of discipline research involving in crop germplasm resources, genetic and breeding, molecular breeding, biotechnology, physiology and biochemistry, tillage and cultivation, soil fertilizer and plant protection, dryland farming, and the grain processing of foxtail millet, maize, wheat, soybean, and other vegetables. Additionally, MRI is also responsible for the transformation, demonstration, and promotion of scientific research achievements as well as service work including social services, personnel training, exchanges and collaboration, practices and trainings, education and teaching.

The MRI is located in the northeast corner of Changzhi City, covering an area of 59.3 hectares including more than 40 hectares of experimental fields. MRI owns over 6000 square meters of scientific research and experimental office buildings, including more a laboratory community of more than 3000 square meters, and over 9,000 square meters of scientific research and comprehensive and fully functional test facilities including manipulator rooms and storerooms.

Additionally, the institute has over 300 sets of scientific research equipment worth 10 million yuan, more than 50 sets of agricultural machines and tools worth 1 million yuan, and over 10,000 volumes of various books, documents, and archives. Moreover, in Gu Village, Zhangzi County, there is a scientific and technological innovation demonstration base that includes 10.7 hectares of experimental field and more than 650 square meters of infrastructure such as agricultural machinery, tool warehouses, and drying fields.

So far, MRI owns 8 scientific research platforms, consisting of the Changzhi Sub-Center of National Millet Improvement Center, the National Millet Original Seed Propagation Base, one of the National Agricultural Environment Observation Experimental Stations, the Changzhi Comprehensive Test Station of National Maize Industry & Technology System, the Shanxi Key Laboratory of Characteristic Course Cereal Crops Germplasm Resource Exploration and Genetic Improvement, the Shanxi Technology Innovation Team of Millet Hybrid Advantage and Molecular Mechanism Research, the Shanxi Millet Science & Technology Innovation Strategic Union, and the Gu Village Science & Technology Innovation Demonstration Base.

MRI consists of 9 research departments and 6 management service departments, and 5 branches of the Communist Party. The management service departments include the Party and Government Office, Scientific Research Office, Social Service Office, Personnel Office, Financial Asset Office, and the Logistics and Security Office. The research departments include the Millet Breeding Research Office, Millet Cultivation Research Office, Maize Research Office, Wheat Research Office, Dryland Farming Technology Research Office, Molecular Breeding Research Office, Biotechnology Research Office, Cash Crop Research Office, and Grain Processing Research Office.

So far, there are 118 faculty members at MRI, of which 54 are members of the Communist Party. Among the members, there are 3 Ph.D. graduates and 3 candidates, 49 MS graduates and 3 candidates, 41 undergraduates, 11 professors, 36 associate professors, 26 assistant professors, 19 assistant engineers, 4 management people, and 23 workers. Additionally, there are 2 post experts of National Modern Agricultural Industrial & Technology System, 1 director of the National Experimental Station, 1 doctoral supervisor working with Shanxi Agricultural University, 1 expert enjoying the State Council Special Allowance, seven academic and technical leaders of Changzhi City, and 1 top talent enjoying the special allowance and related treatment of Changzhi City.

Currently, MRI leadership consists of 4 members. Guo Erhu is the party secretary and director, Han Peiyu is the deputy secretary, and Wang Jun and Zhang Dongxu are co-deputy directors.

To date, MRI has led and undertook over 800 projects at the national, provincial, academy, and municipal levels, and won 108 scientific and technological achievements at the provincial level and above, including 4 national awards and 29 provincial second-class and/or above awards, and 69 appraisal achievements. Moreover, 146 varieties of various crops had been certificated, identified, or registered at the provincial or national level, 25 national invention patents granted, and over 700 scientific papers published. Meanwhile, MRI had also participated in the editing and compilation of more than 20 academic books. In recent years, the area of scientific research achievement promotions with independent intellectual property rights have exceeded 670,000 hectares, which has made contributions to the agricultural development of Shanxi province and the nation as a whole.

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