News article

Minister celebrates successful commitment of £200m in UK-China research and innovation collaboration

The UK’s Minister for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation Jo Johnson speaks at the opening of the UK China Innovation is GREAT Showcase in Shanghai on 23 September.

The UK’s research and innovation partnership with China was given a boost today with the confirmation that since 2014 the UK-China Research and Innovation Partnership Fund, also known as the Newton Fund, has committed £200m across 37 joint programmes and supported over 220 partnerships.

This was highlighted by the UK’s Minister for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation Jo Johnson at the opening of the UK China Innovation is GREAT Showcase. He highlighted its success in establishing over 37 joint funding initiatives and programmes such as the £21 million Research and Innovation Bridges programme and the Climate Science for Service Partnership.

Science Minister Jo Johnson said:

The future of science depends on collaboration and sharing expertise and China is an important science partner for the UK. Through the Newton Fund we’re working together on areas such as sustainable agriculture and smart cities to improve the lives of millions across the globe.

The success of the Newton Fund and our exciting partnership demonstrates that our science and innovation relationship is going from strength to strength.

The Science Minister is visiting Shanghai for a series of bilateral events and meetings highlighting the strength of the UK-China education and science and innovation relationship, alongside the UK’s Government Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Mark Walport and around 150 representatives from the UK’s Research Councils, universities and businesses.

On 23rd September he opened the UK China Innovation is GREAT Showcase event, and met with China’s Minister for Science and Technology Wan Gang for the UK China Joint Commission for Science and Technology. On 24th September he will represent the UK as Country of Honour at the Pujiang Innovation Forum, and will officially open the Centre of Excellence for Plant and Microbial Sciences, a joint centre between the UK’s John Innes Centre and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The Minister also witnessed the signing of a number of agreements between British and Chinese partners, including:

  • Agreement between the UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council and the Chinese Academy of Sciences to broaden collaboration between large scientific facilities
  • Agreement between Innovate UK and the Science and Technology Commission of Shanghai Municipality to cooperate in areas of mutual benefit, including exploring the opportunities presented by future cities
  • Two agreements in the field of Education Technology
  • Agreement between the British Council, Universities UK International, and Jiangsu Provincial Department of Education focusing on world class university initiative.
  • Agreement between the British Council, Universities UK International, and the Excellence League of China focusing on consortium partnerships in science and technology
  • A further six higher education agreements involving the Universities of Reading, Sheffield and Liverpool.

During a visit to Suzhou, the Minister celebrated the deep relationship in research and education collaboration between the UK and Jiangsu province, and delivered a speech to Chinese students highlighting the UK’s commitment to international engagement and excellence in innovation. While in Suzhou he announced the development of the Oxford Suzhou Centre for Advanced Research (OSCAR), a new centre in the Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP) dedicated to research and innovation.

Other key outcomes from the Minister’s visit include:

  • Agreement to establish an ‘Innovation Gateway’ platform for technology commercialisation services between Queen Mary University of London, the UK’s Knowledge Transfer Network and Shanghai Technology Innovation Centre.
  • An MOU on Space Science Education between National Space Academy and a consortium of Chinese partners which seeks to inspire, educate and train the next generation of scientists and engineers.
  • Announcement of London and Partners VC Club programme, an initiative to facilitate introductions to London’s leading investors allowing start-ups and scale-ups to grow quickly.
  • Launch of the China-Britain Business Council Intellectual Property Rights and Legal Guidance Report, intended to promote more technology transfer, innovation and commercialisation between the UK and China.
  • Launch of a new report by Universities UK International detailing the breadth of UK universities’ international activities which foster innovation and university-business interaction. The report includes a case study of the UK China Catalyst Programme run by Lancaster University which helps UK small and medium-sized companies connect with Chinese businesses.

Further information

The UK China Innovation is GREAT Showcase event is a celebration of UK-China innovation collaboration, ahead of the UK’s appearance as Country of Honour at the Pujiang Innovation Forum. Led by China’s Minister for Science and Technology, Wan Gang and the UK’s Minister for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, Jo Johnson, a full day’s programme on Friday 23rd of September at the China Financial Information Centre features British and Chinese speakers from academia, industry and government, and includes a university showcase and case studies of successful collaborations. Held as part of the Pujiang Innovation Forum, the showcase was organized by the British Consulate-General in Shanghai with the Shanghai Science and Technology Commission as co-hosts.

The 600 selected attendees heard from guest speakers including the graphene Nobel Laureate, Kostya Novoselov. A selection of UK Vice Chancellors spoke at the event including Gaoqing (Max) Lu, the first Chinese Vice Chancellor of a UK university.

Six special sub-forums were convened to discuss China-UK collaboration in the areas of space technology, energy, education technology, the creative sector, graphene, and innovation in Internet of Things and digital manufacturing.