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Chancellor announces two new UK-China research partnerships

17 January 2012

During a visit to China, the Chancellor George Osborne today (17 January) announced two new UK Research Councils partnerships with the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC). Joint funding with the Research Councils UK Energy Programme, led by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) for research projects into smart energy grids and with the Medical Research Council (MRC) to help the development of collaborative links between stem cell scientists in the UK and China.

The RCUK Energy Programme and NSFC will each provide up to £3 million to fund three or four collaborative projects beginning in 2013. A smart grid is a grid system which gathers, distributes and acts on information about the behaviour of all suppliers and consumers connected to it. This should improve efficiency, reliability, economics and sustainability of electricity services. More information about this partnership is available here.

The MRC and NSFC scheme will provide financial support to establish pilot studies between research laboratories in the UK and China, and will be targeted at increasing our understanding of stem cell biology and undertaking preliminary studies to underpin therapeutic development in the future. It is anticipated that in the longer term the awards made under this initiative will provide a foundation for the development of more substantive stem cell research programmes between the two countries. More information about this partnership is available here.

Research Councils UK (RCUK) recognise that research is critical to solving global grand challenges and increasingly this requires working between nations as well as across disciplines. The RCUK International Strategy helps the best researchers work together, wherever they are in the world. RCUK overseas teams, including one in China, deliver this strategy and make it easier for talented researchers to work together on projects that advance knowledge, improve the quality of life, and promote social and economic progress by helping to remove barriers to research collaborations between countries.

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Further information

Jane Wakefield
RCUK Press and Communications Manager
Tel: 01793 444592

Notes to editors

Research Councils UK (RCUK) is the strategic partnership of the UK's seven Research Councils who annually invest around £3 billion in research. We support excellent research, as judged by peer review, that has an impact on the growth, prosperity and wellbeing of the UK. To maintain the UK’s global research position we offer a diverse range of funding opportunities, foster international collaborations and provide access to the best facilities and infrastructure around the world. We also support the training and career development of researchers and work with them to inspire young people and engage the wider public with research. To maximise the impact of research on economic growth and societal wellbeing we work in partnership with other research funders including the Technology Strategy Board, the UK Higher Education Funding Councils, business, government, and charitable organisations.

The seven UK Research Councils are:

  • Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC);
  • Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC);
  • Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC);
  • Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC);
  • Medical Research Council (MRC);
  • Natural Environment Research Council (NERC);
  • Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC).