"Innovation plays a vital role in Europe's recovery and long term vitality. Our economic and social recovery requires innovation and competitiveness to create jobs and growth. Evidence shows that countries which invest in research and innovation have been the best equipped to get out of the economic crisis.

And that is why research and innovation are at the very heart of our Europe2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. We have already taken significant steps in the right direction with our flagship initiative on the Innovation Union, as well as concrete targets, such as investment in R&D equivalent to 3% of GDP, reducing the number of early school leavers and increasing the number of citizens with tertiary education, so that we can match our skills with our future economic needs." J. M. Barroso, former EC President, at the Innovation Convention 2014

Second Innovation Cooperation Dialogue Meeting (June 2015)

Research and innovation were confirmed as fundamental policy components of overall EU-China relations at the 17th EU-China Summit and the 2nd Innovation Cooperation Dialogue (ICD) of 29 June in Brussels. Commissioner Carlos Moedas and Chinese Minister for Science and Technology Mr Wan Gang co-chaired the ICD and participated in the Summit. Leaders in the Summit reaffirmed the importance of cooperation in the area of research and innovation as a driver for economic and social development and a key element of EU-China relations. Both sides agreed to work together to harness each other’s comparative advantages in such areas as innovation policy, mobility and training of researchers, commercialisation of R&D results, technology dissemination and sharing of research facilities and framework conditions for innovation.

Three research and innovation related documents were signed at the Summit: 1) A Joint Statement on the Renewal of the EU-China Science and Technology Agreement; 2) An Implementing Arrangement between the European Research Council and the National Natural Science Foundation of China to promote cooperation on frontier research; 3) and a collaborative research arrangement between the European Commission Joint Research Centre and the Chinese Academy of Science Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth. Both sides further made a commitment to ensure reciprocal access to respective research and innovation funding programmes and the agreement to set up a new cofunding mechanism based on Horizon 2020 on the EU side and relevant research and innovation funding programmes on the Chinese side to support joint research and innovation projects in strategic areas of common interest.

European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas underlined: «China has become a major science and technology power. Europe needs to engage with China in the context of our open science, open innovation and open to the world policy. The agreements reached at the Summit and Innovation Cooperation Dialogue mark a step towards addressing global societal challenges and developing joint innovative solutions together.»

First Innovation Cooperation Dialogue Meeting (November 2013)

The 1st meeting of the EU-China Innovation Cooperation Dialogue (ICD) took place in Beijing on 21 November 2013. It was opened by EU Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn and by the Chinese Minister of Science and Technology Wan Gang and co-chaired by Mr. Rudolf Strohmeier, Deputy Director General for Research and Innovation of the European Commission on the EU side and by Mr. Zhang Laiwu, Vice Minister of Science and Technology on the China side. The ICD meeting reconfirmed the EU and China's attachment of the greatest importance on innovation as a means of tackling social challenges and promoting sustainable growth. Both sides exchanged views on their respective innovation policies and discussed ways to enhance cooperation on research and innovation.

The ICD meeting agreed on thematic priority sectors of common interest and mutual benefit for both sides: launched a new flagship initiative on food, agriculture and biotechnology, welcomed progress made on developing the research and innovation pillar of the EU-China Sustainable Urbanisation Partnership, welcomed the prospect of developing a joint research initiative on aviation, and discussed prospects for cooperation involving industry and research institutes on information and communication technologies.

The ICD meeting expounded that the EU and China have a shared interest in promoting predictable, transparent and effective innovation related framework conditions. EU and China should continue to promote a level playing field with respect to research and innovation both in Europe and in China, and to work on lowering barriers to innovation and balanced research cooperation.

Establishment of the High Level Innovation Cooperation Dialogue

The EU-China Joint Declaration on Innovation Cooperation Dialogue was signed on 20 September 2012 to create an official platform for exchanges and cooperation on innovation between both sides. The EU and China concluded that innovation is inevitable to induce an effective development of innovative technology solutions for tackling major societal challenges in a win-win context.

Under this Dialogue mechanism, the EU and China will discuss innovation policies, strategies and good practices, and will jointly encourage and support cooperation on research and innovation activities. The Dialogue aims to develop cooperation on different aspects related to the development (research) and the deployment (marketization) of innovative solutions taking the related framework conditions into account. The Innovation Cooperation Dialogue is held annually, usually back-to-back with the EU China Summit. It will fully mobilize industry, universities and research institutes, so as to complement mutual strengths and deliver win-win results on human resources, technology, research infrastructures, exploitation of research findings, and framework conditions for innovation.

To achieve its objectives the Innovation Cooperation Dialogue will seek synergies with existing bilateral dialogues in the area of innovation between the Member States of the EU and China. It will also complement the Joint Steering Committee on S&T Cooperation, and other existing EU level sectorial Dialogues established in the areas of trade, industry and people-to-people exchanges. Moreover, a number of EU programmes and cooperation activities are supporting an innovation driven co-operation and provide assistance and services to R&D and business activities in China, such as the Enterprise Europe Network, China IPR SME Helpdesk and the EU SME Centre.

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