The concluding seminar of the “Advance EU Access to Financial Incentives for Innovation in China”, a European Union project financed under the Partnership Instrument, was held today at the Grand Kempinski Pudong Hotel in Shanghai. It brought together around 50 research and development practitioners working in European, joint or Chinese research entities in China, to discuss accessibility and reciprocity granted to them when applying to Chinese national science, technology and innovation (STI) funding programmes.
The event opened with remarks from Dr Laurent Bochereau, Head of the Science, Technology and Environment Section of the EU Delegation to China, who highlighted the ongoing EU-China collaboration, opportunities for international collaboration presented by the recently-launched Horizon2020 Work Programme, and specific opportunities and areas targeting China-based actors under the EU-China Co-Funding Mechanism.
His remarks were followed by an introductory speech by Mr Carlo D’Andrea, Vice President and Chairman of the Shanghai Board of the EU Chamber of Commerce in China. From the Chinese side Mr Zhao Huilin, Deputy Director General of the Shanghai International Science & Technology Exchange Center gave a presentation on Shanghai’s new science, technology and innovation strategy, and the opportunities for European actors in its international programmes. Mr Liu Gang, Vice General Manager of Shanghai Zhangjiang Biotech & Pharmaceutical Base Development, and Vice President and Secretary of Shanghai Pudong Bio Industry Association, described the measures Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park has in place to support and protect innovation in the Hi-tech park.
A panel discussion on specific cases of successful application to Chinese funding programmes was conducted by six European and Chinese experts and resulted in concrete recommendations on how to increase the quality and success rate of the scientific research funding applications. Cases presented included: the EU-China Co-Funding Mechanism, the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the “1000 Talents Plan”, State Key Laboratories, National Key R&D Programmes, as well as other industry-university international cooperation projects.
The final results of the project were presented by the team leader, Ms Philippa Jones, including a guide for EU stakeholders on national Science and Technology funding programmes. The Guide introduces the five main funding programmes of the Chinese national funding system for research and innovation, explaining the rules for international participation, and recommendations for European stakeholders. The document will be made available to the EU innovation community online shortly.
As reaffirmed during the 3rd EU-China Innovation Cooperation Dialogue in 2017, access to funding is a fundamental framework condition for innovation. China is currently undergoing an ambitious reform of its national funding system for STI and institutional setup. Although the reform is contributing significantly to a higher degree of openness and transparency, China's STI funding programmes still present challenges for EU actors.
In July 2016 the European Commission through the Partnership Instrument, initiated the 18-month project “Advance EU Access to Financial Incentives for Innovation in China”, as part of a monitoring of the effective implementation of the EU-China Joint Roadmap on Ensuring Reciprocal Access to Respective Research and Innovation Funding. Through daily monitoring and analysis of Chinese de jure developments within the Chinese STI sector, as well as de facto figures of participation under Chinese national STI funding programmes, the action provided significant factual evidence to the EU-China Innovation Cooperation Dialogue. It also provided technical input to the EU efforts to improve the innovation framework conditions for European research and innovation stakeholders in China, by enhancing their access to financial funding incentives in China.