In order to implement the consensus reached between the heads of state of China and France on April 6 and the Joint Statement of the People’s Republic of China and the French Republic the next day, the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology and the French Embassy in China held a ceremony to launch China-France Hubert Curien Partnership Program-Cai Yuanpei Project, a research partnership program, on May 23. The event was held in a hybrid format in Beijing. Wang Zhigang, Chinese Minister of Science and Technology, and Catherine Colonna, French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, made video speeches. Chinese Vice Minister of Science and Technology Wu Zhaohui and French Ambassador to China Bertrand Lortholary attended and addressed the ceremony. The ceremony was co-chaired by Xu Jie, Deputy Director-General of the Department of International Cooperation at the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology, and Marc Daumas, Counselor for Higher Education, Research and Innovation at the French Embassy in China.
Minister Wang Zhigang said that the launch of this research partnership program and the release of the 2024 calls for proposals is an important initiative to follow up on the consensus between the heads of our countries and will promote the mutual visits of researchers between the two sides. He expressed hope that this initiative will encourage more research teams to work together, promote the establishment of long-term cooperation platforms such as joint laboratories, and advance the stable, reciprocal and upward development of comprehensive strategic partnership between China and France.
Catherine Colonna said that during their meeting in April, Chinese and French leaders stressed the importance of enhancing people-to-people exchange between the two countries. The China-France Hubert Curien Partnership Program-Cai Yuanpei Project will support high-quality research exchange projects and provide more channels for Chinese and French tech talents, especially young researchers, to explore cooperation.
Vice Minister Wu Zhaohui stated that China and France consider each other as important partners in sci-tech cooperation. Since the intergovernmental agreement on scientific and technological cooperation was signed in 1978, the two countries have maintained close collaboration in the field of science and technology. He believes that the launch of the China-France Hubert Curien Partnership Program-Cai Yuanpei Project will expand the channels for exchange and cooperation between the science communities of both countries. This will promote deeper and more practical collaboration in addressing global challenges such as climate change and achieving carbon neutrality goals.
Ambassador Bertrand Lortholary said that during President Macron’s visit to China, the two countries reached consensus on a number of sci-tech fields, adding new dimension to people-to-people exchanges. The China-France Hubert Curien Partnership Program-Cai Yuanpei Project will mainly fund exchange and cooperation activities between Chinese and French research teams, and allocate separate funding for carbon neutrality research for addressing significant social challenges like climate change and biodiversity.
In addition to the launch of the research partnership program, an academic exchange session was also held. Prof. Dai Minhan from Xiamen University and member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Prof. Benoit Perthame from Sorbonne University and member of French Academy of Sciences, delivered reports and shared their experience of participating in sci-tech cooperation between China and France. During the policy briefing session, representatives from the Department of International Cooperation at the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology and the French Embassy in China presented the application and management of the China-France Hubert Curien Partnership Program-Cai Yuanpei Project, and answered related questions.
Approximately 200 people attended the launch ceremony, including Huang Jing, Director-General of the Administrative Center for China’s Agenda 21, Yao Weike, President of the China Association for International Science and Technology Cooperationm Philippe Arnaud, Director of Beijing Office of the French National Centre for Scientific Research, Li Zheng, Chief Representative of China Office of France’s National Institute for Agricultural Research, as well as representatives from China’s related ministries, provincial and municipal authorities of science and technology, Chinese Embassy in France, French Ministry for Higher Education and Research, French Embassy (Consulate) in China, and research institutes and universities from both countries.