The 13th Steering Committee Meeting of China-EU S&T Cooperation was held on March 29, 2017 at the EU headquarters in Brussels. The aim was to implement agreements reached at the 17th China-EU Summit and further advance cooperation in science, technology and innovation (STI). The meeting was co-chaired by Huang Wei, Vice Minister of Science and Technology of China, and Robert-Jan Smits, Director-General of DG Research and Innovation, the European Commission. Also present were representatives from the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, the Chinese Aeronautical Establishment and the Chinese Mission to the EU, as well as representatives from the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, DG for Agriculture, Joint Research Center and European Research Council Executive Agency.
Vice Minister Huang said the Chinese government values innovation, and the 13th Five-year Plan highlights innovative, coordinated, open and shared development, identifying innovation as pivotal and the primary driving force for development. He pointed out that China and EU are highly complementary in science and innovation, and have cooperation potential in a broad spectrum of areas such as business-academia-research partnerships, joint R&D activities and lab-to-market translation. He stressed that STI cooperation has become an important and indispensable element of the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership.
DG Smits said the EU also puts innovative development high on the agenda, noting that the bloc has produced a third of the world’s innovative products with only 7% of the world population. China’s and EU’s STI strategies share much common ground and both sides are open and willing to further cooperate. The European Commission hopes more and more academics, researchers and staff from Chinese and European universities, institutes and enterprises would join the expansion of STI cooperation between China and EU.
The two sides reviewed progress in S&T cooperation since the 12th session, introduced respective latest developments in STI policies and exchanged views on building a bilateral framework to facilitate STI cooperation, the co-funding mechanism (CFM) for research and innovation activities, and reciprocal access to S&T programs. The two sides signed a series of documents, including Minutes of the 13th Session, the revised guidelines for the China-EU Working Group on Food, Agriculture and Biotechnology (WGFAB), guidelines for the China-EU Working Group on Aeronautical Research, as well as Minutes of the 6th meeting of the China-EU WGFAB. Under the CFM, both sides agreed to launch the 2018-2020 flagship STI projects and fund research projects of common interest. Jointly funded projects in the early stage include food, transport, aeronautics, agriculture and biotechnology, and sustainable urbanization. Both also agreed to build an inter-governmental platform to facilitate in-depth STI cooperation with extensive participation from different countries and institutes across Europe.