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China – Intensive Research Cooperation in New Fields

China is Germany’s most important partner in Asia. The two countries have significantly expanded their cooperation in research and education over the recent decades. The world's first "SEMIZENTRAL" water treatment system was opened in the Chinese city of Qingdao on the occasion of the World Horticultural Fair. This innovative water supply and treatment facility is particularly energy and resource efficient. Two new joint declarations on research and education were signed on the occasion of President Xi's visit to Germany in March 2014.

Two new joint declarations strengthen collaboration

On 28 March 2014 Parliamentary State Secretary Thomas Rachel and China's Minister of Research Wan Gang signed the joint declaration on the German-Chinese Innovation Centre "Clean Water". The Innovation Centre is located in the Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park in Shanghai. A joint declaration to strengthen the strategic partnership and cooperation in education and research was also signed with China's Vice-Minister of Education Lu Xin.

The Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Mr Thomas Rachel, and China's Vice-Minister of Education Lu Xin signing a joint declaration to strengthen the strategic partnership and cooperation in education and research in the presence of China's President Xi Jinping and Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel". Image: Federal Government/Döring

Topics of German-Chinese cooperation

Cooperation between Germany and China is particularly active in the areas of innovation research, water, life sciences, marine research, LED technologies and in vocational education and training (VET). The scope of the joint declarations signed during the two intergovernmental consultations in 2011 and 2012 reflects these topics.

Two innovation conferences have already taken place in Beijing and Berlin in the context of the Innovation Platform, which was initiated as a Sino-German collaboration in 2011. Key areas of cooperation include the development of innovation systems, knowledge and technology transfer, innovation financing, and foresight as an instrument of innovation policy.

State Secretary Georg Schütte with delegation in China"Our research helps to save water": State Secretary Georg Schütte and experts at the opening of the waste water treatment facility in Qingdao, April 2014 Copyright BMBF

The German-Chinese "Research and Innovation Programme Clean Water" and the associated joint SEMIZENTRAL project to implement a new semi-central water supply and treatment system in Qingdao are making a meaningful, internationally visible contribution at the World Horticultural Fair 2014. Germany will also be involved in the national mega water projects as China's exclusive foreign partner. Cooperation will be further enhanced by the Clean Water Innovation Centre in Shanghai, which offers a point of contact for German companies involved in water issues.

The aim of the Sino-German Life Science Platform is to help match cooperation partners and to provide the necessary instruments and information. Bilateral cooperation will also be supported through industry-led 2+2 collaborative projects in the area of biomaterials. One milestone of cooperation in marine research has been the signing of a joint declaration on cooperation in marine and polar research with the Chinese State Oceanic Administration (SOA). A call for proposals for bilateral research projects was announced in June 2013; funding for selected projects is scheduled to begin in autumn 2014.

The focus of German-Chinese cooperation in optical technologies is on LED lighting. Both countries are interested in the industrial development of this technology because it is a significant international future market. LED lighting is also an important technology in terms of achieving their respective declared national objectives to become energy-efficient.

Cooperation between Germany and China in the area of vocational education and training (VET) has made very good progress in recent years. The priorities of bilateral VET are cooperation between industry and educational institutions of both countries, the establishment of cooperation centres, research and development in VET, the development of competence standards, and the recognition of qualifications. The first German-Chinese cooperation centre was opened in 2011 in the metropolis Chongqing. Its purpose is to train teachers in the field of mechatronics in China. A second cooperation centre in the area of environmental technology opened in late April 2014 in Qingdao.

Development of scientific and technological cooperation

German-Chinese scientific and technological cooperation (STC) is based on the Intergovernmental Agreement on Scientific and Technological Cooperation of 9 October 1978. Two German-Chinese intergovernmental consultations since then have further strengthened cooperation between the two countries.

The first German-Chinese intergovernmental consultations, which were held in Berlin in late June 2011, further promoted STC with China. A total of five joint declarations were signed. Three were signed with the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) on the establishment of the Life Sciences Platform and the Innovation Platform and on the German-Chinese Research and Innovation Programme "Clean Water"; the other two were signed with the Ministry of Education (MoE) on the establishment of a German-Chinese alliance for vocational education and training (VET) and on the funding of extensive cooperation projects and the establishment of a strategic partnership in higher education.

The second German-Chinese intergovernmental consultations took place at the end of August 2012 in Beijing. Both sides took advantage of the occasion to expand cooperation in the area of education and research. Two joint declarations were signed: one with MoST on cooperation in LED technology, and another with the State Oceanic Administration (SOA) on cooperation in marine and polar research.

Background information on the research system in China

In centrally governed China, the ministries and academies in charge of research, development and education as well as the National Natural Science Foundation of China (funding organisation) are under the direct authority of the State Council. The Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) draws up the guidelines, strategies and regulations for the implementation of national R&D policy, whereas the Ministry of Education (MoE) is responsible for training the country's young scientists.

China's political leadership sees research and development as the foundation for economic growth and the basis on which society can continue to develop. In its Innovation Strategy for 2006-2020, which was announced back in 2006, the Chinese government aims to steadily increase expenditure for research and development in order to establish China as a location for the production of high-tech goods and enable it to compete with industrialized nations in exporting cutting-edge technologies. The Chinese government has expressed very ambitious goals in this Strategy: On its way to becoming a society of innovation, China aims to spend 2.5% of its GDP on research and development (R&D) by 2020. In 2011, R&D expenditure had reached 1.8% of GDP.

According to the Science and Technology Roadmap known as "Technological Revolution and China's Future - Innovation 2050", which was drafted by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), the priorities of China's R&D system are: energy, ecology and the environment, water, health, space, ICT, advanced materials, production technologies, nanotechnology and security.

Additional information

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© 03/13/2015 00:10 Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung