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Impact and breadth of UK-China collaboration on show at China launch of UK Research and Innovation


Impact and breadth of UK-China collaboration on show at China launch of UK Research and Innovation

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) celebrates its China launch this week with events in Beijing, Shanghai, London and Swindon covering the breadth of UKRI’s activities and objectives. The week included events demonstrating the impact and breadth of research and innovation collaboration between the UK and China, engaging positively with China’s top funding agencies to agree the next stages of our collaboration, and fulfilling UKRI’s role as a leader in research culture with commitments to equality, diversity and inclusivity.

The UK Research and Innovation Impact Festival showcased innovative technology developed through the £275 million UKRI collaborative portfolio with China, including fossil plants, satellite and wireless sensors, virtual and augmented reality, medical and rehabilitation robots and 3D models of drug-resistant bacteria. The broad impact of UK-China collaborations, 257 of which have been facilitated through UKRI China, was further demonstrated with a special screening of the documentary: UK Research and Innovation: Inspiring Partnerships, viewable here.

UKRI Chief Executive, Professor Sir Mark Walport, said: “Over the past decade collaborative projects with China have influenced policy change in areas as diverse as antimicrobial resistance, renewable energy storage technologies and urban migration.

“Building on these strong foundations, UKRI China will catalyse the individual strengths of the UK and China to deliver benefits to both countries, and ensure that together we deliver global solutions to the most pressing challenges of our time.”

The UK-China Empowering Leadership Forum, jointly delivered by UKRI China and the British Council, saw four inspiring figures from across the research and innovation landscape in both countries, from academia and engineering to entrepreneurship and the media, talk about overcoming personal challenges and the importance of equality, diversity and inclusivity in research, business and innovation.

These innovative events were designed to celebrate and promote the success and continued development of UKRI’s partnership with China, which this year has produced five bilateral programmes that encompass all UK Research and Innovation’s funding councils and key Chinese partner agencies.

  • All seven UKRI research councils are working together with the National Natural Sciences Foundation of China (NSFC) for the first time to deliver Centre Partnerships in Antimicrobial Resistance.
  • UKRI’s Arts and Humanities Research Council is set to launch a £5m call focused on building new research-industry partnerships between the UK and China in the creative industries, delivered in partnership with UKRI’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Innovate UK; the Shanghai Theatre Academy; and the Shanghai Economic and Information Technology Commission.
  • EPSRC and NSFC are jointly supporting bilateral research projects on Low Carbon Manufacturing.
  • UKRI’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and Innovate UK are working with the Ministry of Science and Technology to deliver new Joint Centres in Agri-Technology Innovation.
  • UKRI’s Natural Environment Research Council also affirmed commitment with NSFC to supporting multilateral projects engaging UK, China, Japan, India and Sweden under the "Towards a Sustainable Earth" (TASE) programme.

Taken together, these five programmes demonstrate the strength and breadth of the UK-China partnership delivering across all UKRI to support universities and businesses to engage in world-leading international research and innovation partnerships.

UKRI’s China launch has cemented the profile and status of the UK’s principal funder of research and development in China, and laid the groundwork for yet more positive collaborations and even wider-ranging impacts.

The launch is an example of UKRI’s vision that international collaboration is key to ensuring world-leading research and development, and global challenges require global solutions, across nations and disciplines. Find out more about our international work by following the hashtag #UKRIGlobal on Twitter.

Press enquiries

jack.smith@ukri.org – UK Research and Innovation China

tracey.jewitt@ukri.org – UK Research and Innovation

Notes to editors

UK Research and Innovation China is one of four international offices providing in-country representation for UK Research and Innovation, the UK's principal public body funding research and development. UKRI has an annual budget of more than £6bn, which will increase as the UK raises national R&D spending to 2.4 percent of GDP by 2027.

UK Research and Innovation China plays a key role in securing longstanding partnerships with China to support a Global Britain. Since 2007, our office has facilitated joint research and development programmes with China representing 257 individual grants with a total combined investment value of over £275m involving more than 200 partner institutions and businesses.

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