Scientist exchange programme with China announced

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce has signed a scientist exchange arrangement with China’s Science and Technology Minister, Wan Gang.

The programme is intended to encourage greater understanding and development of research linkages between NZ and Chinese researchers, and to facilitate access to expertise in each country, Joyce said (here).

Collaboration will be targeted at priority areas like non-communicable diseases, food security and safety, and water research. Up to 10 scientists will travel in each direction each year to engage in projects.

The programme will run for three years and will be administered in New Zealand by the Royal Society of New Zealand. It replaces a similar arrangement, which expired in February 2013.

The signing of the agreement is part of a broad range of initiatives being announced during a visit to China by a delegation of senior officials and business people, led by Prime Minister John Key, to celebrate 40 years of diplomatic relations.

Among the other announcements, a senior science and innovation representative is being appointed to a new position in China (see here).

“The Science and Innovation Counsellor will act as New Zealand’s science and innovation advocate in China.

“They will promote New Zealand’s reputation as a smart nation to the Chinese science community, and they will help build closer relationships between researchers, businesses and government agencies in both countries.

NZ has had science and innovation counsellors based in the United States and Europe since 2004.

A recruitment process is under way for the Chinese position and the appointee is expected to be on the ground by the end of the year.

The position will be based in Beijing where central government and large players in China’s science system are located. The position will initially be for a three-year term.

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