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Int'l R&D Centers on the Way
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Leading international research institutes and universities are expected to establish joint laboratories in China, according to a senior science official.

Shang Yong, vice minister of science and technology, said yesterday at the two-day International Forum on the Globalization of R&D in Beijing that over the next five years his ministry would encourage and jointly fund Sino-international labs in China. This would boost the nation's research capacity in such areas as physics, mathematics and high-technology.

"Sino-foreign joint labs will be mainly distributed in areas where the Chinese government has key cooperation projects with foreign countries," Shang said. "Therefore the funding for the labs will come from both the Chinese government and the governments of the lab's international partners." 

To date China has cooperated with 152 countries in science and technologies and signed bilateral science and technology cooperation agreements with 99 governments. Encouraging the development of joint labs is part of China's international scientific cooperation plan.

The Chinese government will also encourage the nation's deeper involvement in large international projects in physics, life and space sciences.

Already China has been a major player in the Galileo Project, a space science program initiated by the EU, and the Human Liver Protein Project that aims to map all human liver proteins.

Earlier this year China launched a major international science program to research the country's traditional medicines.

In the coming year the nation will also lead a large international cooperation project on clean energy, said Shang, without revealing the date and investment for it.

In addition, Shang said his ministry was designing a mechanism called "one plus one," which will encourage a Chinese institute and an enterprise to establish foreign R&D centers.

Speaking of the state policy for innovation, Shang said that an innovative nation, which is the primary goal of China's science and technology policies, doesn't simply mean independent innovation. Wide international cooperation, especially in basic science areas, was necessary for China and would be promoted by his ministry.

(China Daily December 15, 2006)

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