Delegation of the European Union to China

China launches international collaborative projects to support research & innovation in response to COVID-19

Brussels, 10/07/2020 - 11:06, UNIQUE ID: 200710_18
Press releases

Beijing, 08 July 2020

The Chinese Ministry for Science and Technology (MOST) published its fourth call for proposals to fund international collaborative projects addressing COVID-19.

For the first time, the participation of non-Chinese entities based outside of China mainland is allowed, and even more, is an obligation to make the project proposal eligible.

However, foreign participants will not be financially supported by MOST and will have to come with their own fundings to cover the cost of their participation in the project, with the exception of the purchase of some equipment not available in China. In this particular case, equipment costs can be reimbursed by MOST.

Some major aspects of the call:

  • Proposals must include one (or more) foreign participants. Foreign participants should be research institutes, universities and enterprises registered outside Chinese mainland for above three years with independent legal person status, with long-term stable cooperation established with Chinese applicants. The foreign participant should designate one lead who should have at least six months of working time every year in the foreign entity, hold senior R&D position or PhD degree, and have good international academic reputation and scientific research level. The foreign lead should participate in the proposal from his/her host institute and should provide relevant proof document of his/her host institute.


  • Scientists of foreign nationalities recruited by Chinese mainland entities and scientists from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan can be Principal Investigators.


  • Time for online application: from 8 July to 31 August 2020.


  • 37 projects (maximum) in 11 tasks will be funded in four directions: drugs, vaccines, test reagents and TCM. Total national budget to be allocated will be RMB 100 million (~13 M€). Project duration not to exceed two years.


The call includes specific reference to China's Regulations on Human Genetic Resources, to data sharing policy and to IPR:

  • Research that concern human bodies should pass ethics reviews and sign informed consent letter according to relevant rules. Collection, storage, utilisation and provisions of human genetic resources should be carried out in compliance with relevant regulations of the Administration Rules of Human Genetic Resources. Transportation, mail or carrying human genetic resources out of China should be reported and approved in line with relevant rules set out in the Administrative Rules of Human Genetic Resources. Experimental animals and animal tests should observe the national laws, regulations, technical standards and rules on laboratory animal by using up-to-standard experimental animals to conduct animal tests in up-to-standard devices, to ensure that the experiment process is legal, the test results are authentic and effective, and pass the experimental animal welfare and ethic reviews. Relevant research activities should comply with relevant biosafety regulations of the Regulations on the Biosecurity Management of Pathogenic Microbiology Laboratory and the Biosafety Guideline for COVID-19 labs.


  • The content and method of project cooperation shall comply with the relevant laws and regulations of China and the countries (regions, international organizations) where the cooperation institutions are located. Those who conduct clinical research on drugs and vaccines abroad should obtain clinical approvals from the local drug regulatory authorities, and fully understand the specific provisions of relevant local laws and regulations and ethical review requirements, as well as relevant items on medical behaviours and commercial insurance, to avoid violating local laws or causing disputes.


  • The scientific data generated by the projects should be submitted unconditionally and timely to the platform designated by MOST, and be open to all scientists and the general public.


  • The cooperation parties should have a clear agreement or intentional agreement on future attribution of intellectual property rights and the attribution of achievement conversion benefits, and should be in compliance with the relevant provisions of China’s laws and regulations on the attribution of intellectual property rights and the achievement of conversion benefits (IPR agreements or intentional agreements, MOUs, proof letters or relevant articles defining IPRs in cooperation agreements should be annexed)


The text of the call (in Chinese and unofficial translation in English) is attached to this note. The call text (in chinese) is also available at

Application Guide ( in Chinese)

Application Guide (Unofficial translation in English)



Philippe Vialatte

Minister Counsellor

Head of Research & Innovation Section


Delegation of the European Union to China

Phone: +86 10 84548170


Vojko Bratina

International Relations Officer 

Scientific Attaché Research & Innovation Section


Delegation of the European Union to China

Phone: +86 10 84548179

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