Press release

Joint UK-China strategy for science, technology and innovation cooperation sets new horizons for closer international collaborations

New joint strategy between the UK and China to strengthen science and innovation collaboration.

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  • Science Minister Jo Johnson and Chinese Vice-Minister Wang Zhigang sign jointly agreed strategy to boost science and innovation between the UK and China
  • new strategy will support partnerships between academics, researchers and businesses in both countries to create new opportunities to tackle global challenges
  • first international cooperation agreement since the UK government published its Industrial Strategy, investing an additional £2.3 billion in research and development

The UK-China Joint Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation Cooperation was officially launched today (6 December 2017) by Science Minister Jo Johnson and Vice-Minister of the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology, Wang Zhigang. Witnessed by His Royal Highness Prince Andrew, Duke of York and China’s Vice-Premier, Liu Yandong, the strategy outlines a commitment for both nations to take science and innovation collaboration to a new level.

The new strategy represents a step-change in UK-China science and innovation collaboration, building on almost 40 years of cooperation, and is the first bilateral science and innovation strategy China has developed jointly with another country.

Science Minister Jo Johnson said:

The UK has a history of successful collaboration with China and we are increasingly looking to strengthen this partnership. This new joint strategy is a central part of the UK-China bilateral relationship, underpinning our mutual commitment to drive growth and tackle global challenges through science and innovation.

The recent launch of our Industrial Strategy underlines our commitment to ensuring science and innovation remains at the core of the UK’s future ambitions. It is international partnerships like this that are a testament to our ongoing commitment to propel Britain towards global leadership of future industries.

The UK and China have a strong foundation of existing collaboration, including the ongoing UK China Research and Innovation Partnership Fund (channelled through the Newton Fund in the UK), which has supported over 460 joint projects since its launch in 2014.

China’s Vice-Minister of Science and Technology, Wang Zhigang said:

The Chinese government attaches great importance to China-UK cooperation on science, technology and innovation. Over the past 4 decades, the continuously expanded sci-tech relations have yielded fruitful outcomes. With this new strategy, the level and scope of the cooperation will be further extended to take the golden era forward.

As China enters into a new era, our government identifies innovation as the primary engine of development underpinning the building of a modernised economy. We will follow the principle of win-win cooperation and mutual benefit, increase open innovation and promote bilateral and multilateral cooperation on science and innovation to achieve common prosperity with the rest of the world and build a community of shared future for mankind.

The UK and China have both prioritised research and development to boost economic growth. To continue the UK’s global leadership in research and innovation, the government has committed an additional £2.3 billion as part of the Industrial Strategy. The impact of China’s research is also increasing, with citation impact rising by more than 20% in recent years, and UK-China co-authored papers are more than twice as impactful as the world average.

The strategy also sets the framework for future cooperation to jointly tackle global challenges and drive economic growth over the next 10 years covering co-operation across the spectrum, from research through to the commercialisation of new technologies. It outlines priority areas for collaboration in a variety of areas, including life sciences, food security, renewable energy and environmental technologies. It also outlines new cooperation mechanisms, including an annual Flagship Challenge Programme which will focus on agricultural technologies in 2018.

The agreement details shared principles for intellectual property in UK-China research and innovation collaborations, supporting projects in adhering to international best practice. The UK and China are committed to promoting effective protection of IP rights, which in turn support innovation and trade in both countries.

The launch of the strategy took place at the UK-China Science and Innovation Forum at the Royal Society, alongside the UK-China People to People Dialogue.

Notes to editors

UK China Research and Innovation Partnership Fund (Newton Fund)

The UK-China Research and Innovation Partnership Fund, part of the UK’s Newton Fund, brings together the best of UK and Chinese expertise to tackle and build capacity to respond to global challenges. Highlights include projects on understanding climate risk and supporting climate smart decision making, tackling antimicrobial resistance, innovative technology to support agriculture, and programmes to develop researcher skills and knowledge.

The Newton Fund is part of the UK’s official development assistance (ODA) commitment, administered in the UK by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

UK-China High Level People to People Dialogue (P2P)

The P2P is one of the UK’s 3 major Ministerial dialogues with China, along with the Economic and Financial Dialogue, and Strategic Dialogue. It covers 10 policy strands:

  • education
  • science
  • health
  • tourism
  • sport
  • culture and creative industries
  • youth
  • regional cooperation
  • social equity
  • women’s equality

The P2P is chaired by Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt on the UK side and Vice-Premier Madame Liu Yandong on the Chinese side.

Industrial Strategy

Business Secretary Greg Clark last week (27 November 2017) launched the government’s ambitious Industrial Strategy white paper, setting out a long-term vision for how Britain can build on its economic strengths, address its productivity performance, embrace technological change and boast the earning power of people across the UK.

Documents

Published 6 December 2017