Press release

UK and China agree multi-million pound global research deals

Over £50 million of joint innovative research programmes to tackle global issues have been agreed between the UK and China.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


Over £50 million of joint innovative research programmes to tackle global issues like climate change, long-term renewable energy supplies and human diseases have been agreed today (17 June 2014) between the UK and China.

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts joined Chinese Ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming at the UK-China Summit to sign an agreement for the first programmes of the joint UK-China Research and Innovation Partnership Fund.

The 2 countries approved the programmes, worth £53 million, and a wider 5-year implementation plan of the fund, which will eventually include deals worth a total of £200 million to 2019.

The programmes, of which costs will be split equally between the 2 nations, include:

  • a £23 million scientific research programme – led in the UK by the Met Office – that will help build the basis for services to protect against extreme weather and prepare for a changing climate in Asia
  • £16 million of joint research partnerships – led in the UK by Research Councils UK – to support advances in marine energy, regenerative medicine and stem cells, atmospheric pollution and human health, and sustaining the soil ecosystem
  • £14 million of Newton Fellowships to provide the opportunity for Chinese and UK researchers to develop meaningful collaborations with scientists in one another’s country

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said:

The world faces a number of global challenges, and high quality science and innovation and their application are essential for identifying long-term solutions. By working together, the UK and China’s ability to produce higher quality research and create opportunities to develop and commercialise new innovative technologies are greatly increased.

The UK-China Research and Innovation Partnership Fund is an exciting new model of collaboration between the UK and China, which builds upon the excellent relationship we already share in science and innovation.

In a further boost to UK-China joint partnerships it was also announced today (17 June 2014) that FutureLearn, the UK-based social learning platform, is to grow and partner with its first Chinese universities – Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Fudan University – to create high quality educational experiences for learners in China, and all over the world, through free online courses.

The partnership will provide both Chinese universities with a digital platform to reach thousands of learners globally through massive open online courses, and connect those students with a range of academic, leisure and career-enhancing courses from leading UK and international institutions.

It was also announced during the UK-China Summit that BPP University is partnering with the Central University of Finance and Economics Beijing to set up a joint Professional Accounting and Finance Training Centre. It will provide professional accountancy education to undergraduate and graduate level, including International & Financial Reporting Standards. The BPP announcement resonates with the focus that the UKTI Education team is developing (working with post) on financial & professional services education, training and qualifications in certain areas of China as part of a potential high value project.

Notes to editors:

  1. At the UK-China Summit in December 2013, Premier Li Keqiang and Prime Minister David Cameron witnessed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding to establish the UK-China Research and Innovation Partnership Fund by the Chinese Minister of Science and Technology Wan Gang and the UK Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts.
  2. The UK-China Research and Innovation Partnership Fund provides an important framework towards promoting increased research and innovation collaboration supporting long-term, sustainable partnerships and the economic growth of both countries.
  3. All programmes will be reviewed and monitored by both the UK and China to ensure they are meeting their objectives. Ministers Wan Gang and Willetts will retain strategic oversight of these programmes.
  4. The UK-China Research and Innovation Partnership Fund forms part of the £375 million Newton Fund. For more information visit: Newton Fund: building science and innovation capacity in developing countries
  5. For further information about FutureLearn visit:
Published 17 June 2014