On 12 December, Mr. Jean-Eric Paquet, Director-General of the European Commission Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, arrived in Beijing leading a delegation of officials for in-depth discussions on EU-China cooperation in research & innovation. During his visit, Mr. Paquet met leaders from several top Chinese research institutions such as the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, China Academy of Urban Planning & Design, National Natural Science Foundation of China, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. With research and innovation being one of the key areas of cooperation in the overall EU-China relations, the meetings presented a valuable opportunity to review past accomplishments and discuss new commitments. On 13 December Mr. Paquet co-chaired the 14th Joint Science and Technology Committee that took stock of EU-China cooperation in research and discuss future opportunities. On the Chinese side, the committee was co-chaired by Mr. Zhang Jianguo, Vice Minister of the Ministry of Science and Technology of China.
At the various meetings, Mr. Paquet presented the upcoming EU Horizon Europe programme, which has a proposed EUR 100 billion budget and welcomes cooperation with China and other international partners. The programme, running over 2021-2027, will coincide with China’s next Five-Year Plan, creating ample opportunity for collaboration to drive sustainable development and job creation.
On 13 December, Mr. Paquet also opened the 5th EURAXESS Science Slam held at Innovation Way in Zhongguancun, Beijing. The Science Slam is a science communication competition where five young international researchers from all over China creatively engaged with the general public for an opportunity to visit a European research institution. The competition is organized by EURAXESS China, an initiative launched by the European Commission to support the mobility of researchers and function as a networking tool for European researchers active in China and for Chinese and international researchers wishing to collaborate with Europe. The European Union has been active in establishing different platforms and initiatives to support research collaboration and mobility between European, Chinese, and international researchers. At the urbanisation event organized by China Academy of Urban Planning & Design and the China Centre for Urban Development, Mr. Paquet delivered a prize to the cities of Manchester and Wuhan for their collaboration of more than 30 years in urbanisation related projects.
The delegation led by Mr Paquet comes as the EU and China celebrate the 20th anniversary in their scientific and technological cooperation, as the signing of the EU-China Science and Technology agreement took place in 1998; and the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Research and Development (R&D) PUNE (Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy) agreement in 2008. Last year, the two sides launched a package of joint flagship initiatives, with over EUR 100 million in funding from each side, and strengthened cooperation on the peaceful use of nuclear energy under the Euratom Agreement and via the Joint Research Centre (JRC).