The UKRI China office provides essential expertise and support for UK research and innovation to engage with China.
The team leads on developing relationships with China’s national and regional research and innovation funding agencies, including the National Natural Science Foundation of China, Ministry of Science and Technology and Chinese Academy of Sciences – to facilitate joint UK-China research and development programmes.
The partnerships fostered by our Beijing office have led to research and innovation collaborations with a total combined investment value exceeding £360 million, bringing together more than 350 partner research organisations and businesses in the UK and China.
Why collaborate with China?
The world’s second-largest economy since 2010, China spent 2.17 trillion Chinese yuan (CNY) on research and development in 2019. That’s equivalent to 2.19% of its national gross domestic product (GDP) and approximately US$307 billion.
It is the world’s second-largest producer of high-quality academic research and is home to an estimated 1.87 million researchers. Seven of the world’s top 25 academic institutions, ranked by research output in the natural sciences, are in China.
China is also an emerging innovation powerhouse, granting 2.59 million patents out of 4.38 million applications in 2019. It is currently placed 14th in the Global Innovation Index.
According to Elsevier, China is now the UK’s third biggest single-country partner for collaborative research, after the USA and Germany. Collaborative research output almost doubled over the five years from 2014 to 2018, with joint publications performing significantly better than non-collaborative ones.
China’s research and innovation landscape is hugely diverse and complex, and UKRI recognises the challenges and risks inherent in engagement. For more information, resources are available from:
- Trusted Research
- guidance on overseas business risk with China from the Department for International Trade
- advice for digital and tech businesses from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
Find funding opportunities
If you’re a researcher or business in China or the UK, you can search the Funding finder for international opportunities. These include:
- schemes to support international research collaborations
- innovation support for businesses working with overseas partners
- exchanges and networking schemes for doctoral students and researchers.
You can also find out about how UKRI supports international research and innovation collaborations.
Get travel information
GOV.UK has the latest information for researchers and innovators who travel between China and the UK.
If you are a China-based international researcher or innovator, you can also find out more about getting a visa to work on research in the UK.
British Embassy Beijing
11 Guang Hua Lu