To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of China-Belgium diplomatic relations and promote policy exchanges and cooperation in science, technology and innovation (STI) between the two countries, Huang Wei, Vice Minister of Science and Technology of China, and Pierre Bruyere, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office (BELSPO), co-chaired the 2nd China-Belgium Innovation Dialogue by video conference on 28-29 October 2021. This year‘s dialogue was jointly sponsored by the Chinese MOST and the BELSPO, and organized by the China Association for International Exchange of Personnel (CAIEP), the Department of Economy, Science & Innovation of Flanders, the Brussels Institute for Research and Innovation and Wallonia-Brussels International (WBI).
In his opening speech, Vice Minister Huang Wei said that Chinese President Xi Jinping and Belgium’s King Philippe exchanged congratulatory messages to celebrate the 50th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations, ready to take the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties as an opportunity to push for new achievements in China-Belgium relations and make new contributions to China-Europe relations. Both countries attach high importance to STI development, and the China-Belgium Innovation Dialogue shows the depth, openness and frontier STI cooperation between the two countries. It is hoped that the sci-tech communities of the two countries leverage the platform of China-Belgium Innovation Dialogue to explore new models of cooperation, inject new impetus into STI cooperation between the two countries, and add new dimensions to the China-Belgium all-round partnership.
President Pierre Bruyere said that STI is an important driver for economic and social development. Closer STI cooperation is critically important for the two countries to jointly tackle global challenges such as energy transition and climate change. Since the first China-Belgium Innovation Dialogue in 2017, the two sides have achieved fruitful results in R&D cooperation, researchers exchange and building joint research platform. It is hoped that the two sides will further deepen cooperation and jointly work for the achievement of sustainable development goals.
During the meeting, the two sides exchanged their STI policies, and reviewed the progress of cooperation in sci-tech response to COVID-19, exchange of young scientists, joint research and cooperation in science parks. They also discussed and envisioned future cooperation models and space in priority areas in the next phase of cooperation. In the three parallel sessions held on 29 October, representatives from the two sides had an in-depth discussion in key areas such as future industry, life sciences, smart and sustainable cities.The two co-chairs witnessed the signing of four cooperation agreements.
Jan Hoogmartens, Belgian Ambassador to China, attended the dialogue. More than 160 delegates from the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Chinese Academy of Engineering, the Natural Science Foundation of China, the China Association for Science and Technology, the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Chinese provinces and municipalities including Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Guangdong and Sichuan, the Chinese Embassy in Belgium, Belgian federal and regional governments, and the Belgian Embassy in China, as well as representatives of universities, research institutes, enterprises and science parks of the two countries, participated in the dialogue.