World / Europe

China and Europe to jointly fund scientific research and innovation

By Chen Yingqun ( Updated: 2015-11-04 16:03

China and Europe will witness a breakthrough in cooperation in research and innovation, as China is keen on supporting Chinese participation through the co-funding mechanism to support joint projects between China and Europe, says Robert Jan Smits, director general for Research and Innovation, European Commission.

Smits is in Beiijng for the 2015 Research and Innovation Tour: Where Europe and China connect. The event, which explains to Chinese research institutions and companies about China-EU relations, the Horizon 2020 work programs in 2016-2017, has been touring in 16 cities in 14 provinces of China for the past six months, and will conclude this month.

Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU research and innovation program. For the next two years, the European Commission will invest 16 billion euros in research and innovation under Horizon 2020. It funds researchers and innovators at the cutting edge of their research disciplines, working on the latest breakthroughs in science. It supports projects across the cycle from research to innovation, facilitating their monetization and access to markets. It will also be investing in training of researchers including exchanges between industry and academia.

The Chinese government and the EU agreed to set up a co-funding mechanism on research and innovation for joint projects between European and Chinese universities, research institutions and companies this year.

Up to 200 million yuan, or 28 million euro, will be made available annually by the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology on the Chinese side for the benefit of China-based entities that will participate in joint projects with European partners under Horizon 2020.

"China and Europe are facing many similar problems, we have aging populations, energy security, food safety, environmental problems, so scientists need to work together to find solutions for these problems,” he says. “So I think it (the co-funding system) is an enormous push for our cooperation."

The European Commission expects to continue spending over 100 million euros per year for the benefit of Europe-based entities in joint projects under Horizon 2020 with Chinese participants, institutions and companies.

Chinese authorities are keen in supporting Chinese participation through the co-funding mechanism in the broad areas of food, agriculture and biotechnology, sustainable urbanization, ICT, space, aviation, energy, health, transport, water, advanced manufacturing, and exchange of young scientists.

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