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Young EU "science ambassadors" start China research
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17:29, April 01, 2009

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China and the EU today launched a joint program to build long-term collaboration on science and technology based on "mutual trust and openness". Through the project young European researchers will acquire "insider knowledge" about China, the Chinese people and EU-China relations.

In the first phase of the Science and Technology Fellowship Program China (STF) sponsored by the European Commission,thirty researchers from 12 EU countries will learn Chinese in Beijing for six months, followed by 18 months practical research in top-notch Chinese academic institutions, including Tsinghua University, China Academy of Sciences, Peking University, Shanghai Jiaoting University and the University of Science and Technology in Hefei to name a few.

Mr. Leonard Orban, European Commissioner for Multilingualism, said at today's launching ceremony in Beijing that the fellows would be EU's "ambassadors in science and technology" in China. He encouraged the fellows to learn "a new culture, a new way of thinking and a new system of values" through their Chinese studies.

Mr. Orban thinks it is important for young people to learn Chinese for their career because China represents a lot of opportunities.

Mr. Serge Abou, Ambassador of the EU Delegation in China, hopes they take this opportunity to understand China, Chinese people and EU-China relations. He described Chinese people as "open, having sense of humor and novelty".

"China is not only a trading power and an economic power, it is becoming more of a scientific power." said Mr. Abou.

A similar program was undertaken in Japan from 1990 to 2000. It was cancelled and integrated in the more general Marie Currie Action under the Seven Framework Plan in 2007. The STF China is the only international project now.

China is also the first developing country participating in the EU Framework Plan which finances international science and technology cooperative research projects. The European Union has funded 1.5 billion euros for some 250 projects with participation of Chinese researchers since 2003 when the Six Framework Plan began to be fully open to China.

However, few European researchers have come to China for long-term cooperative programs. The US and Canada are the first destinations outside the EU for European researchers because of the language barrier.

The program mainly covers the fields of health, food, agriculture and fisheries, biotech, energy, environment, nanoscience, transport, socio-economic sciences and the humanities, space and security.

The second intake will start in the first half of 2010.

By People's Daily Online

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