RCUK Office in China Newsletter
Info@rcuk.cn 16 September 2010
Funding Opportunities and Awards
ESRC Initiative on Collaborative Analysis of Micro Data Resources: Pathfinder Research
Projects – China and South Africa
NSFC will provide additional funding towards the China component of each successful China-
based project. Please visit the NSFC’s website for the Chinese call text and application
guidance. Application deadline: 1600 UK time on 12 October 2010
The Royal Academy of Engineering- Research Exchanges with China and India
This funding scheme enables researchers in engineering departments at UK universities to
spend time at academic centres of excellence in China or India, and academic engineering
researchers in China or India to spend time at a UK university. The deadline for application is
8 November 2010.
Short Awards (up to £3,000) support visits, primarily for networking, of up to one month. Major
Awards (up to up to £22,000 support visits of 3-12 months and should be part of longer-term
efforts to build UK-China/India partnerships. The aim of the scheme is to support international
collaborations and strengthen networks of excellence in engineering research. Further
information including application forms and notes for guidance and also available at
http://www.raeng.org.uk/international/ and for enquires please contact Dr. Shafiq Ahmed at
Tel: +44(0)20 7766 0642, E-mail: email@example.com
S&T News: UK and China
UK Government stresses importance of research
On 8 September, Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), gave
his first speech on science and innovation at Queen Mary, University of London. He said that with
the UK severely financially constrained, there is a need to prioritise what research the government
can fund. Cable notes that the United States, China, Germany and France are all significantly
increasing their science budgets in the coming years as a central part of their strategy for long-
term economic growth; and believes that investment in basic scientific research in the UK is vital if
the commercial benefits of developing new technology are to be broadly spread. He advocated
more technology transfer and greater collaboration between academia and industry.
China’s ambitious plan to grow top talent
China aims to transform itself from a labour-rich country to a 'talent-intensive' one by 2020. An
ambitious strategy to achieve 40,000 high-level scientists and 3.8 million researchers (or 43 per
10,000 population, up from 25 in 2008) was unveiled by the government in June. The Medium and
Long-term Talent Development Plan (2010–2020) is the first such comprehensive national-level
strategy. One strand is to attract foreign talent into China, through attractive packages including
government research awards.
China’s National Outline for Medium and Long Term Educational Reform and Development
(2010-2020) is published
In July this year the State Council issued the National Outline for education reform and
development to 2020. This follows two public consultation exercises in 2009 and 2010. The
Outline, which will guide policies for the next 10 years, covers many major issues including HEI
management reform, improving the quality of vocational education, teaching quality, school
enrolment policies, and reducing children's study loads. The government has restated its aim to
increase spending on education to 4% of China’s GDP by 2012.
News from the Research Councils UK
AHRC awards over £10m through its Research Grants scheme
26 projects have won more than £10m funding in the latest round of AHRC’s Research Grants
(Standard and Early Career) scheme. Research topics include: Young people’s ability to engage in
deep critical information behaviour; Digital exclusion; and Histories of rebellion and collaboration in
the British Empire.
UK takes lion’s share of EU research funding thanks to AHRC
The bulk of a 16.5 m. Euro EU research scheme focussing on two Humanities topics (Cultural
Dynamics, and Creativity) has been awarded to UK researchers, in part thanks to three years of
preparatory partnership-building work by the AHRC. UK researchers are included in 15 of the 16
funded projects, and lead on 11 of these.
Body clock drugs could ease psychiatric disorders and jet lag
Researchers funded by BBSRC and MRC have successfully used a drug to reset and restart the
natural 24 hour body clock of mice in the lab. The ability to do this in a mammal opens up the
possibility of dealing with a range of human difficulties including some psychiatric disorders, jet lag
and the health impacts of shift work.
UK researchers release draft sequence coverage of wheat genome
A team of UK researchers funded by BBSRC has published the first sequence coverage of the
wheat genome. The release is a step towards a fully annotated genome and contributes
significantly to efforts to ensure global food security and increase the competitiveness of UK
11th International conference on systems biology
The event is organised by centres co-funded by EPSRC and BBSRC, including the Centre for
Systems Biology in Edinburgh. It will be held in Edinburgh on 10-15 October 2010. It continues an
annual series of conferences initiated by Hiroaki Kitano in Tokyo in 2000. Scotland’s scientists
have pioneered many inventions and innovations, and Scotland recognises the vital importance of
international collaboration in modern science.
Invitation to submit evidence to the EPSRC International Review of Mathematical Sciences 2010
EPSRC is conducting an International Review of Mathematical Sciences. The review comprises
two stages: information and data collection (of which this is a part) and a review week during which
an International Panel to be chaired by Professor Margaret Wright (Courant Institute, New York
University) will meet with leading mathematical scientists from over 40 UK institutions. These
institutions and other key stakeholders have been invited to submit evidence directly. EPSRC is
also keen to hear the views of others, and welcomes evidence from any person or organisation.
International reviews help to benchmark UK research activity against the rest of the world and to
highlight any gaps or missed opportunities. The information provided from international reviews is
used in developing EPSRC’s investment plans.
Review of the ESRC/JISC Economic and Social Data Service (ESDS)
ESDS is the UK’s national service for economic and social data. It manages the major panel and
longitudinal surveys, provides data access and support, and stimulates secondary analyses and
the use of data resources in teaching and learning. Users of ESDS are invited to complete a
survey, the results of which will feed into ESRC’s five-yearly review of the Service.
ESRC Public Policy Seminar Series
The seminars aim to bring the best social science concepts and evidence into the policy arena and
stimulate discussion between researchers and policy-makers. The next seminar on 8 October
2010 will consider How do we know what works? Evaluating policy in culture, media and sport.
ICT and e-Knowledge for the Developing World - 26-28 September 2010, Shanghai
This China-UK workshop, jointly funded by RCUK China and NSFC, will explore how digital
technologies can create better lives for the world’s poorer people. It is organised by the UK
national research data centre Mimas together with the Centre for Chinese Studies at the University
of Manchester and the Informatization Office of CAS.
On 9 September, MRC released data showing that MRC-funded scientists are twice as influential
as the world average in terms of citations. Based on the MRC e-Val survey, the citation impact of
almost 15,000 papers arising from MRC-funded work was 2.35 times the world average.
MRC obesity strategy unveiled
The MRC has published its Obesity Research Priorities, which describes the unique role the MRC
plays in obesity-related research. A wide variety of approaches will be undertaken to understand
the mechanisms of obesity and related disease, and develop interventions. Eight research
priorities are identified.
MRC and California bring stem cell clinical trials one step closer
MRC has awarded almost £5 m. to two major projects aiming to bring stem cell treatments to the
point of clinical trial. The projects (on age-related macular degeneration, and on acute myeloid
leukaemia) involve UK-US teams as part of a collaboration between MRC and the Califormia
Institute of Regenerative Medicine.
The ESPA Research Development Workshop Edinburgh, 4-6 October 2010
The £40 m. Ecosystem Services & Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) Programme has appointed
Professor Paul van Garderen from the University of Edinburgh as the Programme Director,
supported by co-Directors Professor Georgina Mace at Imperial College London (leading on ESPA
Knowledge) and Steve Morgan at the University of Oxford (leading on ESPA Impact).
Chinese researchers have been working on ESPA preparatory projects since 2007, and are
included in four projects funded under ESPA calls earlier this year. A major call for Consortium
Projects will be published in early October 2010. A Research Development Workshop will take
place on 4-6 October in Edinburgh. All current ESPA project teams have been invited to send two
participants. Details are at www.esi.ac.uk/espa. If you have any specific questions relating to the
workshop, please email firstname.lastname@example.org .
The RCUK China office will hold a workshop for intending applicants from China in late October.
SOLAS Summer School 2011 - Cargese, Corsica, France 29 August - 10 September 2011
Application deadline 15 November 2010
Applications are invited for the 5th international summer school of the Surface Ocean Lower
Atmosphere Study (SOLAS). The SOLAS Summer School is a biennial international event that
brings together over 70 students and 15 world-leading international scientists from various fields,
for lectures and practical workshops. It aims to teach doctoral students and early-career
researchers the skills and knowledge of the many disciplines needed to understand the nature of
The SOLAS Project is an international research initiative linking over 1600 scientists in 75
'Experiment Earth?' Public have their say on technologies to reduce global warming
On 9 September 2010 published the outcomes of a public consultation on Geoengineering. The
'Experiment Earth?' initiative enabled members of the public to engage in a public dialogue,
debating not only what technologies might need to be researched in future, but why they might be
needed at all. NERC will consider the results and work with other funders and policy makers to
take account of public views when taking decisions in this emerging area.
Major mass extinction older than thought
NERC Research Fellow Prof. David Bond, OF the School of Earth and Environment at THE
University of Leeds, led a project to study a unique example of the volcanism-extinction link from
260 million years ago, when lavas and ashes were repeatedly erupted into shallow seas in present
day China. Bond and researchers from the University of Birmingham and Hong Kong, the Natural
History Museum and the China University of Geosciences concluded that a mass extinction event
on a par with the extinction of the dinosaurs was almost certainly caused by explosive volcanism,
and happened up to a million years earlier than previously thought.
Sea2Sky on mission to solve global energy crisis at Daresbury
Liverpool-based green energy company, Sea2Sky Energy UK Ltd has brought its R&D operations
to the STFC Innovations Technology Access Centre (I-TAC) at Daresbury, to develop the
technology in a co-operative effort with STFC to produce a low-carbon alternative to coal that
could fuel existing coal-fired power stations. Using the £3m high tech equipment available at I-TAC,
that would normally only be available to academics and large budget companies, startup company
Sea2Sky Energy UK is refining an existing technology known as torrefaction, which greatly
improves the fuel efficiency of biomass.
RCUK China Office Public Holiday Arrangements September-October 2010
Please note our working days/closed days during the coming Mid Autumn and National Day
Holiday Working Day
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
September 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 October 1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
China Office Activities
ESRC-DFID Joint Scheme for Research on International Development Phase 2
An RCUK China Office workshop on 12 August 2010 enabled 20 potential Chinese applicants to
learn more about the call and the application process, through video links to the ESRC programme
team in Swindon and programme strategy adviser Paul van Garderen at Edinburgh University.
Professor Wu Fulong of Cardiff University, an award holder under Phase 1, also attended to share
The Office linked the workshop with the RCUK India Office, and helped to identify Chinese
research partners for an Indian professor. A video and all presentation documents including FAQs
tailored by China Office can be found at http://www.esi.ac.uk/jsrid/events/2010-08-12/36453
MRC Centre for Drug Safety Science (CDSS)
A team from MRC CDSS, based at the University of Liverpool, visited Shanghai and Beijing in July
2010 to explore potential partners. They met the CAS Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica (SIMM)
and the Institute for Chinese Materia Medica (ICMM) of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences.
They called at the RCUK China Office for a briefing to clarify possible ways forward.
MRC Technology Round Table
The RCUK China Office organised a round table on 27 July to help MRC Technology to build
strategic links with Chinese research groups and pharmaceutical companies. MRCT’s director of
IP and Business Development, Mike Dalrymple, met representatives from eight different Chinese
research and business organisations.
Summer School Activities
Fudan-UCL Summer School of Statistical Genetics and Genetic Epidemiology
25 June – 2 July 2010 Shanghai
New sequencing technology, ever-growing genomic data, and fast developing methodologies have
brought us into the population genomics and personal genome era. There is a huge demand for
training in statistical analysis of genomic data with increasing size and complexity. Led by top
researchers from UCL and Fudan University, this Summer School aimed to equip UK and Chinese
early-career researchers/students with state-of-art knowledge and tools.
Sino-British Summer School in Integrated Catchment Management
10-20 July 2010 Beijing
This Summer School coincided with an international workshop, enabling several world experts to
contribute alongside the leads from Sheffield University and Peking University. Lectures and case
studies from the UK and China provided powerful comparative perspectives on water catchment
management issues, and on the potential for research collaboration. The event was highlighted on
the River Corridors and Sustainable Living Agendas (URSULA) website - an EPSRC funded
consortium including Sheffield, Bradford and Durham Universities.
Changing Urbanities: Postgraduate Summer School in Chinese Studies
4-19 July 2010 Nanjing
Co-funded by RCUK China Office, Nanjing University, Jiangsu Provincial Government and in
collaboration with the Worldwide University Network (WUN), the Summer School was organised
by the Institute of Chinese Studies at Leeds and Nanjing University’s School of Social and
Behavioural Sciences and Department of History. It highlighted the international implications of
China’s experience against the background of globalisation, and gave early-career researchers of
Chinese studies from the UK and other countries an intensive opportunity to understand Chinese
Frontier approaches for implementing bioremediation
19-30 July 2010 Beijing
Traditional remediation methods for contaminated land and groundwater are technically limited,
inefficient and not environmentally sustainable. This leads to uncertainty in decision-making and
inefficient use of resources. This Summer School, organised by the College of Water Science at
Beijing Normal University and the Groundwater Protection and Restoration Group at Sheffield
University investigated how to use bioremediation more effectively.
Biomaterials for Ageing Populations
19 – 24 July 2010 Chengdu (Sichuan province)
Thirty early career researchers gathered at the National Engineering Research Centre for
Biomaterials at Sichuan University to explore cutting-edge potential therapies for skeletal and
neoplastic diseases of ageing, and to build networks between UK-based and China-based young
researchers. Led by a team from the London School of Pharmacy and Sichuan University, the
programme also included experts from UCL, Oxford and Nottingham universities. At the end of the
School, teams of UK and Chinese young researchers presented ideas for new research, with the
winning project expected to bid for pump-priming funds over the next year.
Biofuel cells and micro energy devices
2 – 10 August 2010 Xiamen (Fujian Province)
The State Key Laboratory of Physical Chemistry of Solid Surfaces at Xiamen University hosted
this Summer School. The UK lead was Southampton University, with expert inputs from other
leading institutions in the UK (4), China (7), Hong Kong and Belgium. A British EU Science &
Technology Fellow at Xiamen was co-organiser. As well as providing wide-ranging lectures on
basic and applied aspects of biofuel cells, the event enabled intensive discussion of promising joint
Design for the UK & Chinese consumer markets
26 July - 6 August 2010 Shanghai
Young researchers from three-quarters of the UK’s Design Management departments travelled to
Shanghai for a very intensive two weeks, engaging alongside Chinese peers with a range of
Shanghai-based companies on mini-research projects to address challenges of design for fast-
growing and fast-changing markets. Shanghai Jiaotong University, the host, co-organised the
event with Salford University’s School of Art & Design. The companies included major
multinationals, design consultancies, state owned enterprises, and private-sector Chinese firms.
The intensity of the experience promoted excellent rapport among the UK and Chinese attendees,
to be sustained via a dedicated social networking site.
Surface Engineering at Southampton Instrumental Methods in Advanced Coatings
23-29 August 2010 Southampton
This Summer School in Southampton built on a 2009 event in Lanzhou, western China, helping to
strengthen links between the £9.4mn EPSRC National Centre for Advanced Tribology at
Southampton (nCATS) and the CAS State Key Laboratory of Solid Lubrication, China’s top-rated
research institute in this field.
12-19 September 2010 Beijing
Jointly organised by the Royal College of Art and the School of Art and Design at Tsinghua
University, this Summer School applied inclusive design theory to the topic of Ageing. It covered
the many challenges involved in moving from a medical model of old age to a social model, and
developed UK-China links across several disciplines. The Royal College of Art has long -term links
Chips, Computers & Crops
5–11 September, Beijing
UK lead: Dr Andrew Harrison, Department of Mathematical Sciences, University of Essex PRC
lead: Dr Ming Chen, College of Life Sciences, Zhejiang University.
This summer school enabled young researchers from mathematics, computer science,
bioinformatics and molecular biology to learn how cutting-edge computational technology can lead
to biological discoveries in a crop plant (in this case, rubber). It was the third UK-China event on
this topic, following a 2008 BBSRC sponsored workshop and a 2009 summer school. A strong UK-
China research network has developed from these.
Carbon Capture & Storage
9–18 September Beijing,
UK lead: Professor Yong YAN, School of Engineering, University of Kent
PRC lead: Professor Shi LIU, School of Energy and Power Engineering, North China Electric
With fossil fuels remaining the main source of energy for many decades to come, reducing carbon
dioxide (CO2) emissions using CCS technologies is seen as one of the best solutions in
combating climate change. The Summer School enabled leading researchers and engineers from
both countries to report the latest developments in capture, transportation and storage of CO2
emissions in the presence of early career researchers.
Sustainable security of Smart Grids
13–18 September, Hangzhou
UK lead: Prof. Haifeng Wang, The Queen’s University of Belfast
PRC lead:Prof. Deqiang Gan, Department of Electronic Engineering, Zhejiang University
The UK-China Network of Clean Energy Research links experts from all UK SUPERGEN consortia
with 20 leading Chinese institutions. This EPSRC sponsored network, led by Professor Haifeng
Wang, includes 15 UK and 20 China-based post-doctoral and PhD students working on two UK-
China collaborative projects. The Summer School strengthened UK-China engagement by the
RCUK China Workshops
20 – 22 September Ageing mechanisms and reliability in renewable energy systems,
26 – 28 September ICT and e-knowledge for the developing world, Shanghai
15 – 17 October Antarctica Dome A, Shanghai
18 – 20 October Imaging Science and Wall Paintings along the Silk Road, Xi’an
October Flood Risk Estimation, Beijing/Wuhan
RCUK China Summer Schools
18 – 27 September Renewable Ocean Energy, Harbin
7 – 14 October Animal Diseases and Human Health, Shanghai
25 – 31 October Cognitive Communications, Hangzhou
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