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China, EU plan concerted steps to nurture innovation

By Cheng Yu | China Daily | Updated: 2017-10-28 10:43

China and the European Union are planning further cooperation in the science and technology sector to sustain and nurture innovation.

The EU plans to invest 30 billion euros ($34.8 billion) from 2018 to 2020 to support global programs in science, technology and innovation through its Horizon 2020 program.

Up to 100 million euros will be used specifically to promote cooperation with China.

The Ministry of Science and Technology will invest 200 million yuan ($30.1 million) to aid China-based entities that will participate in the program during the period.

The move is in line with General Secretary Xi Jinping's remarks during the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China which emphasized that innovation is the primary force driving development.

The investment will mainly be used to provide financial support to entities in China to cooperate with Europe in science, technology and innovation.

Five areas, including safer and greener aviation, surface transport, and environment and sustainable urbanization will be key priorities.

"Innovation has become a pillar of EU-China relations, and science and technology cooperation will bring new impetus for the future development of both two sides," said Robert Sanders, head of the European Business and Innovation Center Network.

Within the framework of Horizon 2020, the European Network of Research and Innovation Centers and Hubs (ENRICH), a platform promoting science, technology and innovation between Europe and China, has also opened its doors.

"One of the biggest problems that European companies and organizations face is that they lack a channel for cooperation with their Chinese counterparts," said Sara Medina, coordinator of ENRICH and a board member at SPI, a Portugal-based consulting firm.

To tackle the problem, ENRICH will build a bridge between China and Europe through its platform by providing services related to scientific and technological innovation including consultancy, soft-landing, co-working, and training for European companies and research organizations.

"Currently, China is developing at an unprecedented speed with a huge market for innovative businesses. It is the ideal time for us to expand our businesses in China," said Hans Marius Schuster, CEO of Hydrogen Society, a Germany-based energy company attracted to the platform.

More than 50 European companies and institutes from over 10 countries including Belgium, Finland and Romania have been roped in by ENRICH for cooperation with China.

"The ultimate goal is to help European researchers take their first steps in the Chinese market and to help Chinese researchers have better interactions with their European counterparts," said Richard Deng, chief representative of SPI China.

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