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Bans, flagships, and a green pivot: the state of EU-China research relations

Bans, flagships, and a green pivot: the state of EU-China research relations

China’s involvement in Horizon Europe is becoming increasingly restricted to environment-focused and basic research, but is still holding up despite geopolitical headwinds and the disruption to face-to-face contact caused by the pandemic, a Science|Business analysis has found.

Cooperation on areas now seen as sensitive, like sensors, databases and the internet has given way to projects in areas like forest management and pollution.

But continued Chinese participation could soon take a hit after the European Commission this year banned China-based researchers from joining close-to-market research calls.

Yet at the same time, two Horizon Europe flagship projects - on climate and biodiversity, and food, agriculture and biotechnology - have deliberately brought Chinese and EU researchers together. Both sides pay for their own involvement in joint projects, although this has caused problems in signing off grants at the same time.

“In my own experience, cooperation has to deal with increasing difficulties,” said Blas Mola-Yudego, a researcher at the University of Eastern Finland, who is part of eco2adapt, a forestry resilience project involving six Chinese partners that started last year.

Post-pandemic travel restrictions, difficulties using software in China, and troublesome visa procedures have all made collaboration harder, Mola-Yudego said. “However, I feel a strong will to keep working together.”

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Posted by ENRICH in China Team on 26-Feb-2024 17:32

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