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University of Southampton is partner in unique UK-China research collaboration

Published: 
29 November 2007

The University of Southampton is one of five British universities to form a unique collaboration with over 20 Chinese higher education institutions to support collaborative research and knowledge transfer partnership between the two countries.

Innovation China UK (ICUK) supports academic and business partners in forging collaborations, funding proof-of-concept research, and commercialising joint intellectual property across the UK and China. Its activities will enhance the profile and visibility of UK science and technology, and the international reputation of UK universities.

The other ICUK British partners are Queen Mary, University of London; King's College London; the University of Nottingham; and the Royal Veterinary College.

Innovation China UK was formally launched in London by Her Excellency Madam Fu Ying, Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to the UK and Ian Pearson MP, Minister of State for Science and Innovation.

Ian Pearson MP said: "I particularly welcome the launch of Innovation China UK because of its emphasis on helping to bring ground breaking research to the commercial market. It is also a further sign of co-operation between the UK and China.

"Such existing research partnerships mark a potentially significant step in the capability of both countries to boost knowledge transfer. With greater knowledge transfer comes a greater ability to innovate. Both the UK and China are at the forefront of cutting-edge science. Together we can benefit from a strong research base that works effectively with business."

The University of Southampton's role in the partnership will be led by the University's Centre for Contemporary China (CCC), working closely with colleagues in the Centre for Enterprise and Innovation.

Maozu Lu, Director of the Centre for Contemporary China, commented: "The CCC is delighted that the ICUK project has been launched and we are looking forward to submitting some exciting proposals. ICUK will underpin our activities in Southampton's strong enterprise and research agenda, consolidating existing partnerships and providing a catalyst for new collaborations with Chinese universities and research institutes."

Jin Xiao Ming, Director General of International Co-operation, Ministry of Science and Technology, China, commented: "Science and innovation is high on the agenda in Sino-British relations. It is high time we tap into the enormously rich resources of joint research projects between our research institutions and bring them into the orbit of practical application and wealth creation. I firmly believe that ICUK will achieve success and expand to involve additional world-renowned UK universities in the future."

China now has the biggest research and development (R&D) workforce, and the third biggest R&D investment in the world. ICUK supports collaborative research in areas such as energy; climate change and sustainable environment; infectious diseases; biomedicine and drug discovery including traditional Chinese medicine; nanotechnology and material science; and space technology.

The project has been awarded £5 million in funding by the UK Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF), which supports knowledge transfer and increased business engagement in universities. China is providing complementary funding through its Ministry of Science Technology (MoST).

Notes for editors

Innovation China UK (ICUK)

ICUK is the first collaborative research and knowledge transfer partnership supporting five UK Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) and twenty Chinese HEIs in promoting innovation through collaboration and commercialisation of joint research worldwide.

The design of ICUK was informed by widespread consultation with stakeholders in the UK and China. ICUK will have three main activities:

  • a state-of-the-art knowledge network and a complementary events and dissemination programme
  • an ICUK collaboration development fund into which partner HEIs may submit applications for proof of concept and business development grants
  • expertise in project management and technology transfer to support commercialisation of joint intellectual property.

Internationally-recognised experts in knowledge transfer and industry representatives from the UK and China have agreed to participate in ICUK's activities. An added value of ICUK will be that lessons learnt from the collaboration, including guidance and briefings promoting UK-China R&D collaborations, will be widely disseminated to organisations outside the partnership.

Examples of ICUK Chinese collaborators include China Academy of Science (over five institutes), Tsinghua University, Beijing University of Aerospace and Aeronautics, Fudan University, Shanghai Jiaotong University, China Ocean University China, Nanjing University, University of Science and Technology China and Xi'an Jiaotong University.

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