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STFC strengthens UK-China research and innovation relationships

(Credit: RCUK)

23 September 2016 - A team from STFC are in China this week collaborating with Chinese research colleagues on a series of announcements, events and launches that demonstrate the growing strength of the research and innovation relationship between the research council and China.

UK Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation Jo Johnson MP and UK Government Chief Scientific Advisor Sir Mark Walport have led a delegation of senior figures from academia and the sciences who, along with senior members of STFC, are attending the prestigious Pujiang Innovation Forum.

STFC-led activities include:

  • A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between STFC and the Chinese Academy of Sciences being extended for a further 5 years at the China-UK Joint Commission meeting held in Shanghai on September 23rd. This MoU complements the MoU with the National Science Foundation of China and means that STFC now has Agreements with the two major Chinese Funding Agencies.
  • The 11th Annual UK-China Space Workshop is taking place bringing together top space scientists from China and the UK to build on existing successes in the fields of remote sensing and satellite technology.
  • The signing of an agreement between the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), the Open University and the Centre for Excellence in Advanced Materials in Dongguan, Guangdong to explore the development of an International Stress Engineering Centre with facilities in the UK at the Harwell Campus in Oxfordshire and in China.

The MoU with CAS was signed by Professor Robert McGreevy for STFC and by Prof Cao Jinghua, Director General of the Bureau of International Cooperation, CAS.

Professor Robert McGreevy is Director of the STFC ISIS Spallation Neutron Source and said of the new MoU agreement with the Chinese Academy of Sciences “The extension of the MoU with CAS reinforces the fact that both organisations are seeing real benefits from this relationship. It enables STFC to more easily engage with CAS and over 100 Research Institutions and other establishments that it funds. It will make it easier for UK researchers from STFC Institutes and UK Universities funded by STFC to partner with their Chinese counterparts.”

This MoU complements the MoU with the National Science Foundation of China and means that STFC now has Agreements with the two major Chinese Funding Agencies.

STFC RAL Space is the driving force behind the annual UK-China Space workshops that has brought together more than 2000 space scientists, technologists and industrialists. The latest, the 11th, is taking place in Shanghai and Dr Hugh Mortimer, of STFC RAL Space, has organised the Space workshops for many years and believes there are many benefits to ongoing collaboration with China. “Our ability and willingness to challenge preconceived ideas, to innovate and think around a problem, combined with China’s drive and commitment to a future in space, provides an ideal opportunity to develop science and technology that is truly out of this world.”

Dr Mortimer adds: “The workshop is about bringing people together from a range of academic and industrial backgrounds to build links and to build ideas. Those relationships then continue far beyond the annual three day conference.”

According to Chris Bee, Head of Business Development for STFC, strengthening relationships creates wider opportunities: “Academic collaboration is opening doors for UK PLC in China. With a common theme and a common goal, academic cooperation builds relationships and paves the way for further innovation opportunities.”

The visit to China is part of a wider series of events this week organised by the seven UK Research Councils aimed at demonstrating support for the continued development of UK-China collaboration in science, technology and innovation.


Media Contacts

Jake Gilmore
STFC Media Manager

Notes to Editors: 

There is already a considerable amount of collaboration and cooperation between China and the UK in the areas within STFC’s remit; China is a full partner in the Square Kilometre Array project (SKA) whilst there is on-going engagement to develop China’s own neutron spallation source (currently under construction). There are also various activities under the Newton Fund.

The Pujiang Innovation Forum is China’s most influential high-level international summit focused on innovation. Jointly organised by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) and the Shanghai Municipal Government, it provides a platform for in-depth discussion of key strategic issues affecting domestic and international innovation policy. Key stakeholders are senior politicians and ministers, university vice chancellors, CEOs and chairpersons of top companies, researchers, innovators and economists.

In 2012, to further China’s international partnerships in science and technology, organisers initiated the Country of Honour mechanism. This year, the United Kingdom has been named Country of Honour, following Germany, Finland, Russia and Israel in previous years.

The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) is a leading academic institution and comprehensive research and development centre in natural science, technological science and high-tech innovation in China. It consists of the Academic Divisions and various subordinate institutions. Membership of the Academy represents the highest level of national honour for Chinese scientists.

To date, CAS has 13 branch offices, over 100 research institutes, and 2 universities: the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) and University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). For more information about CAS

Research Councils UK (RCUK) is the strategic partnership of the UK’s seven Research Councils. Their collective ambition is to ensure the UK remains the best place in the world to do research, innovate and grow business. The Research Councils are central to delivering research and innovation for economic growth and societal impact. Together, they invest £3 billion in research each year, covering all disciplines and sectors, creating new knowledge through: funding research excellence; responding to society’s challenges; developing skills, leadership and infrastructure; and leading the UK’s research direction.

RCUK press release

Last updated: 13 October 2016


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