A unique collaboration involving five UK and over twenty Chinese higher education institutions, marking the first research and knowledge transfer partnership between the two countries, will be officially launched today.

Her Excellency Madam Fu Ying, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the UK and Ian Pearson MP, Minister of State for Science and Innovation, will unveil the new programme at a ceremony at Queen Mary, University of London, which is leading the partnership.

The collaboration has been set up to: help support academic and business partners in building solid partnerships; fund proof-of-concept research via a collaboration development fund; and, through its expertise in project management and technology transfer, facilitate the commercialisation of joint intellectual property.

The UK Higher Education Innovation Fund, which supports knowledge transfer and increased business engagement in universities, has given the project £5 million, while China is providing complementary funding through its Ministry of Science Technology.

China is certainly a key player in the global R&D arena, currently housing the biggest R&D workforce and enjoying the third biggest investment in the world, and the UK is hoping to tap into the sector’s credentials as well as raise awareness of what UK science and technology and the country’s universities have to offer.

‘Rich resources'
“Both the UK and China are at the forefront of cutting edge science. Together we can benefit from a strong research base that works effectively with business,” commented Pearson. Ming added: “It is high time we tap into the enormously rich resources of joint research projects between our research institutions and bring them into the orbit of practical application and wealth creation.”

In addition to Queen Mary, the other UK partners in the collaboration are King’s College London, the University of Nottingham, the Royal Veterinary College, and the University of Southampton, while those from China include China Academy of Science, Tsinghua University, Beijing University of Aerospace and Aeronautics and Xi’an Jiaotong University. It is hoped, however, that the collaboration will expand to involve other UK universities in the future.