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China welcome to join EU's research initiative: official

(Xinhua)    13:31, December 17, 2018

BEIJING, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) -- China and other international partners are welcome to cooperate in Horizon Europe, the European Union's planned 100-billion-euro scientific research initiative, according to a senior EU official.

Jean-Eric Paquet, director-general of the European Commission Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, told Xinhua that the program, which calls for 100 billion euros in research and innovation spending from 2021 to 2027, is expected to create ample opportunities for collaboration to drive sustainable development and job creation in China and Europe.

Paquet made the remarks at the opening of the 5th EURAXESS Science Slam in Beijing on Dec. 13.

The Science Slam is a science communication competition where young researchers from around China compete to win an opportunity to visit European research institutions. EURAXESS, backed by the EU, provides information and support to enhance scientific collaboration between researchers in Europe and beyond.

The EU plans to invest in fields like health, digital transformation of industrial markets, transport, energy and food security in Horizon Europe, said Paquet.

China and the EU have already cooperated in related fields, and Chinese researchers are welcome to visit Europe and their European counterparts are also interested in visiting China, he said.

While more Chinese researchers had gone to study in Europe in the past, cooperation between the two sides is now more reciprocal.

China is leading in areas like space exploration, Earth observation and brain science and the EU is looking forward to cooperating in these areas, he said.

Paquet added that China plays a significant role in ITER, the world's largest nuclear fusion experiment, and works with other countries to tackle challenges.

Costing around 15 billion euros, ITER is the worlds largest international scientific cooperation project.

It is jointly funded by China, the EU, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Russia and the United States. According to China's Ministry of Science and Technology, China invested 4 billion yuan (about 512 million euros) in ITER from 2008 to 2017.

"The research we need is the one that allows our society to continue to develop and grow, while making it more inclusive and respecting planetary boundaries," said Paquet. No countries have mastered everything needed for research requiring joint international efforts and solutions deployed at national and regional levels.

Paquet said he felt the passion for innovation among young Chinese researchers during his visit. Research and innovation will be a key area in China-EU relations, he noted.

The EU delegation led by Paquet visited Beijing as China and the EU celebrate the 20th anniversary of their science and technology cooperation.

China and the EU signed a science and technology agreement in 1998 and renewed it in 2004. Since then, China has joined major EU projects like ITER and the Galileo navigation satellite project.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: He Zhuoyan, Bianji)

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