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China-UK Science and Innovation Cooperation Opens a New Chapter

On the occasion of the Fifth Meeting of the China-UK High-Level People-to-People Dialogue in London, under the witness of Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong and Duke of York Prince Andrew of the UK, Party Secretary and Vice Minister Wang Zhigang of the Ministry of Science and Technology of China and Minister of State Jo Johnson for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation of the UK officially signed on December 6, 2017 a Memorandum of Understanding for Science, Technology and Innovation Cooperation, releasing the China-UK Joint Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation Cooperation. It is the first bilateral science and innovation cooperation strategy which China has jointly formulated with another country, marking a new step forward on the basis of nearly 40 years of sci-tech ties between China and the UK.

Wang Zhigang remarked, “The Chinese government attaches great importance to China-UK cooperation in science and innovation. Over the past 40 years, the sci-tech ties between the two countries have been strengthened, giving rise to many achievements. The new strategy will further deepen and expand China-UK cooperation in science and innovation, and support the development of a golden age of China-UK cooperation. In the new era, the Chinese government takes innovation as the primary driving force behind development and a strategic support for building a modern economic system. In line with the principle of ‘mutual benefit’, we will enhance openness and innovation, and promote economic prosperity of China and other countries through bilateral or multilateral cooperation in science and technology, and build a community of shared future.”

Jo Johnson pointed out, “There has long been fruitful cooperation between the UK and China. The two sides have also been exploring ways to continuously strengthen this partnership. The newly released China-UK strategy is an important part of China-UK relations. It provides support for the two sides to work together to promote economic growth and address global challenges. The UK has recently released its industrial strategy, emphasizing that it will continue to take technological innovation as the core of the UK’s future development. The international cooperation in science and innovation between China and the UK is also one of the examples that we are promoting the UK to lead the future of industrial innovation worldwide.”

There is a solid foundation for China-UK cooperation in science and innovation. Within the framework of the China-UK Research and Innovation Partnership Fund, the two sides have supported 460 collaborative projects since 2014. The new China-UK strategy has established a framework for future cooperation in science and innovation between China and the UK. In the next ten years, the two sides will carry out extensive cooperation from research and innovation to the industrialization of new technology, jointly deal with global challenges and promote economic development. The strategy covers a series of priority areas of cooperation, including life sciences, food safety, renewable energy and environmental technology. Meanwhile, a new mechanism for future cooperation is planned, including the annual Flagship Challenge Program. In 2018, the Flagship Challenge Program in the field of agricultural science and technology will be launched. The China-UK strategy has specified that the two sides will abide by relevant provisions on intellectual property rights in their research and innovation cooperation, strengthen the protection of intellectual property rights, and promote innovation and trade relations between the two countries.