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U.K. and China launch venture to support joint R&D

by Patricia Short
November 26, 2007 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 85, Issue 48

In what is being billed as the first collaborative research and knowledge transfer partnership between China and the U.K., Innovation China UK (ICUK) made its debut last week.

The venture was launched at Queen Mary, part of the University of London, by Fu Ying, Chinese ambassador to the U.K., and Ian Pearson, British minister of state for science and innovation.

ICUK will involve five British and more than 20 Chinese institutions of higher education. The British partners are Queen Mary, King's College London, the University of Nottingham, the Royal Veterinary College, and the University of Southampton. The U.K. Higher Education Innovation Fund has awarded the venture $10 million in funding; China kicked in complementary funding through its Ministry of Science & Technology.

The partnership aims to support academic and business partners in forging collaborations, funding proof-of-concept research, and commercializing joint intellectual property across the U.K. and China. It will back collaborative research in areas such as energy; climate change; infectious diseases; biomedicine and drug discovery, including traditional Chinese medicine; nanotechnology and materials science; and space technology.

All the partners point out that significant U.K.-China R&D collaborations have been forged in the past. However, argues Caroline Quest, chairman of ICUK's board, "outcomes of such joint research are rarely commercialized as a result of the significant cultural barriers and the lack of dedicated support for U.K.-China technology transfer. ICUK aims to deliver dedicated U.K.-China technology-transfer support and facilitate the commercialization" of the results of collaborative research.


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