UK Research councils open China office

The UK has strengthened its scientific and academic links with China with the opening of a Research Councils UK (RCUK) office in China – the first of its kind outside of Europe.

The office is located within the Tsinghua Science Park, north-west of Beijing. Its aims are to: improve each country’s knowledge about the other’s research systems and strengths; identify the
scope for closer cooperation between the RCUK and the Chinese research support agencies; and to develop a programme of activities that will lower the barriers to international research
collaboration.

‘The UK and China are at the forefront of cutting-edge science,’ said UK Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills John Denham. He said that the office would help researchers
to find the answers to some of the world’s biggest problems, including disease, powering homes and industry efficiently, and protecting the planet.

‘The UK sees its future economic success in good science, better skills and a strong research base that works effectively with business. We believe that when we share our knowledge with Chinese
scientists we are building a bright future for both our countries,’ said Mr Denham.

According to Professor Ian Diamond, chair of the RCUK Executive Group, China is the obvious choice for the RCUK’s first overseas office. ‘China’s growing importance in the world is clear – but
overcoming geographical, cultural and funding-system barriers needs sustained dialogue and cooperation on many fronts. A permanent Beijing base for such work will make a huge impact,’ he said.

Plans are already afoot for two further overseas offices. RCUK will open an office in Washington during November, while a New Delhi office is planned for 2008.

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