Brussels, 14 Oct 2003
The Commission Research DG and the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) are keen to boost EU-China research collaboration and have established priorities in several fields, including materials sciences. A China-EU science and technology co-operation promotion office (CECO) in Beijing, funded by the EU and MOST, publicises information on European programmes.
The workshop in Bologna will review the scientific, technological and societal aspects of multifunctional materials and seek to facilitate joint responses to the next call for proposals in the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6), planned for November 2003. The EU-China workshop will focus particularly on:
Biomaterials, bio-inspired materials and organic/inorganic hybrids;
Development of innovative nanostructured materials; and
Multi-materials for macro-scale applications.
Key role for scientific co-operation
International scientific co-operation is a major priority for China. An EU-China scientific co-operation agreement was originally signed in December 1998 and entered into force in December 2000. It is contributing to the opening up of the PRC and to its integration in the world. From the EU point of view, the agreement provides access to high-level scientific and technological expertise and should create markets for the research to be carried out. The Chinese research potential includes 515 000 researchers (compared with 700 000 in Europe), of whom 37% work in research centres (7 000 in total), 26% in the production industry and 31% in higher education institutions.
In October 2001, EU Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin and the Chinese Minister for Science and Technology Xu Guanhua signed an implementation agreement in materials sciences to facilitate participation of Chinese research organisations in European research projects. The intention was to promote Chinese participation in EU projects and EU participation in Chinese projects, as well as supporting training and information activities, and the exchange of scientific and technological information in this field.
China has a strong interest in co-operation with the EU in materials sciences as it has huge resources of raw materials and is one of the biggest producers of materials in the world. Europe has a technological leadership in materials sciences and many development possibilities in this sector. Research areas covered by the agreement include basic generic material technologies, improvement of the limits and durability of materials, advanced functional materials, sustainable production in the chemical industry and nanotechnologies.
An EU-China workshop on 'multifunctional materials by design' is being held in Bologna (IT) from 21 to 23 October 2003 in the framework of the EU-China scientific co-operation agreement on materials signed in 2001.