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Dialogue with Foreign Experts | China's Fertile Grounds for Innovation

Source: Science and Technology Daily | 2024-06-24 19:00:46 | Author: Staff Reporters

On June 24, ten experts received the China International Science and Technology Cooperation Award at the National Science and Technology Award Conference in Beijing.

They stand as eminent experts who have collaborated closely with their peers for years, making significant contributions to international scientific cooperation. This recognition underscores China's commitment to technological innovation and promoting global scientific collaboration.

In recent interviews with Science and Technology Daily (S&T Daily), foreign experts working in China praised this commitment, highlighting China's advancement across various technological domains and its supportive environment for international talents.

Integrating into global innovation network

China has become deeply integrated into the global innovation network, committed to creating an open research environment.

"China actively collaborates with international research institutions and scientists, fostering an environment of shared knowledge and joint innovation," said Italian scientist Francesco Faiola, who became the first full-time foreign researcher at the Research Center for Eco-Environmental Science of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2014.

He cited the numerous Chinese initiatives and programs to encourage international collaboration. One of the most prominent, according to him, is the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) for International Cooperation in Science and Technology, which aims to enhance scientific research partnerships with BRI countries, focusing on areas such as agriculture, health, and engineering.

Matteo Cavalleri, publisher of Strategy & Portfolio Development, AIP Publishing, echoed Faiola's sentiments. "Investment in research infrastructure has also been a priority for China, particularly in developing robust data repositories and open science platforms. These investments support the storage, sharing, and dissemination of scientific data and publications, further facilitating open science practices," Cavalleri told S&T Daily.

According to him, China has consistently taken the lead in the number of papers published under an open-access model in physical sciences, establishing itself as a major contributor to open science globally since 2018. In tandem with this, various training programs and workshops are cultivating a culture of openness and accountability in research practices across China's scientific community.

Inclusive academic ecosystem

China has stepped up efforts to promote technological innovation to benefit more countries and people, attracting domestic and international talents to advance the cause of science and technology.

Konstantinos Pouleros, a Greek cable expert, is the manufacturing director at Ningbo Orient Cables company. Having worked in China for nearly six years, he has seen the substantial investment in R&D creating an environment where engineers can thrive and innovate. "China's R&D culture makes life easier for engineers," he said.

Igor Alexandrov, a Russian expert at Changzhou University in Jiangsu province, east China, also highlighted China's supportive research environment. "It is very good, especially when you get access to well-equipped institutions. [China] provides great opportunities for scientists, especially young researchers from different countries, to come to China and achieve important results," he said.

"Working in an internationally collaborative environment in China has been incredibly rewarding," Faiola added, pointing out that international researchers working in China have access to state-of-the-art laboratories and equipment that may not be readily available in their home countries.

Enrico Marsili, an Italian chemical engineer at the University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC), praised the unique opportunities in China's research environment, calling China's investment in quality research and researchers "a wise move".

Marsili's co-worker at the UNNC, Alain Chong, pointed out another side of China's flourishing academic ecosystem. China provides support for both local and international talent and this inclusiveness extends to funding and grants for researchers regardless of nationality, making international talent recognized and valued. "These little things that the government does make a big difference," he said.

Green growth shows technological prowess

Green development is now a key focus for China. The rapid development and adoption of green technologies showcase the ability to innovate and address pressing environmental concerns.

Andreas Thorud, general manager of seafood giant Nordic Aqua and an old China hand, lauded China's "strong commitment to green transitioning". "The results are impressive," he remarked. "I've seen the changes over the years. There have been amazing achievements, particularly in the development of renewable energy industries, such as solar panel expansion."

"China's greenness is visual," said Pouleros, talking about the good impression left on his customers and visitors from Europe who are struck by the Chinese cities with extensive green spaces.

Pouleros also emphasized the significant strides China has made in the sci-tech sphere, especially in the green energy sector. "Chinese companies lead in battery development for global markets, contributing to a better future environmentally and ensuring long-term sustainability for the planet. This benefits not only us but also future generations," he said.

Empowering lives

"I don't think anyone would have ever imagined what China has made in the last 40 years," Brian Linden, an American entrepreneur living in Yunnan province in south China for decades, told S&T Daily. "If our goal for all humanity is to make sure that everybody lives at a certain level, a quality life, the world should be proud of what China has achieved in 40 years."

After 10 years in China, UNNC's Chong is particularly impressed by the country's rapid progress in the digital economy and AI industry, especially in empowering people's lives. "The speed at which new technologies are developed and embraced by society [here] is truly impressive," he said, adding that the Chinese have shown a remarkable willingness to embrace technological advancements.

From his perspective, China's progress in biotechnology and healthcare has broader implications for global health and sustainability. "The development of vaccines, biotech research, and commitment to environmental sustainability highlight China's growing influence in these critical areas," he said.

According to Faiola, China understands that to achieve global growth, progress in science and technology is crucial. "These advancements significantly enhance the well-being of its people. This is particularly evident in the emphasis China has placed on applied science and technology in recent years," he said.

China's diverse development was summed up by Jose Manuel Martinez Gonzalez, a Spanish expert with Ningbo Vinon Import & Export company who has over 15 years of foreign trade experience. "China's achievement in the sci-tech field is really hard to describe by focusing on one single area," he said.

Editor: 鐘建麗

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