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Britain hoping to lure Chinese talent

By Angus McNeice in London | China Daily UK | Updated: 2017-07-18 16:55

The British government has set up a 100 million pound ($130.6 million) global talent research fund in a bid to attract top Chinese scientists and innovators to the United Kingdom.

The Ernest Rutherford Fund, which takes its name from the nuclear physicist and Nobel Laureate, was established by the Department for Business, Energy& Industrial Strategy as part of the government's 1 billion pound industrial strategy laid out in April.

Jo Johnson, the UK's universities and science minister, said:"At the 2016 autumn statement, the government announced a significant increase in public research and development spending, totaling 4.7 billion pounds. In her vision for the UK as the go-to place for scientists, innovators and tech investors, Prime Minister(Theresa May) has made clear she wants us to be a country that attracts the brightest and best minds."

Johnson said the fund will be used to attract "highly skilled" early-career, and senior researchers to the UK. The government has identified "emerging research powerhouses", including India, China, Brazil, and Mexico, as key recruitment pools.

The UK publishes 16 percent of the world's most heavily cited papers, despite only having 1 percent of the world's population and 3 percent of global funding for research papers. Almost half of research articles published by British researchers have international co-authors.

The fund is being administered by Innovate UK and Research Councils UK until a new body, UK Research and Innovation, is formed in 2018.

Grace Lang, director of Research Councils UK China, said: "We see the Rutherford Fund as an excellent opportunity to further help early-career as well as senior researchers in China to establish and solidify their professional and personal connections in the UK. China's share of global science and engineering publications is increasing. We hope researchers in China will benefit from this funding opportunity to gain international experience and more researcher-to-researcher links can be formed, contributing to a well-connected international research and innovation community."

Since the research council's China office was set up in Beijing in 2007, it has cofunded 222 million pounds of programs with several Chinese funding agencies, covering a range of research areas.

Greg Clark, the UK's business secretary, announced in April the creation of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, with 1 billion pounds of support. The government announced in the spring budget that it will invest 250 million pounds during the next four years on continuing to build a pipeline of high-skilled research talent.

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