Oxford University signs landmark research collaboration with China

Updated 2017-12-08 11:32:02 chinaplus.cri.cn

A number of key research agreements have been signed by the University of Oxford and its partner organizations in China, which include the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences.

The agreements have been made at the ongoing UK-China People-to-People Dialogue.

The inauguration of the Oxford Institute of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences is being hailed as a landmark collaboration.

Doctor Robert Easton is the Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University.

"We will build upon our existing relationship with the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and establish a joint institute right here in Oxford which is also the Academy's first institute outside China and that once again will push forward the boundaries of our knowledge in the study of disease and treatment and it would include new scholarships in support of the institute ensuring some of China's best medical students are able to join us in Oxford combining their work with ours," Easton said.

The Vice-Chancellor says that expanding and deepening the University's links with China has been at the heart of its international strategy over the past decade, and will continue to be a major part of its development in the coming years.

Current Oxford collaborations with Chinese partners in the medical sciences include some of the world's largest ever studies, such as the collaboration with the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences through the Kadoorie Biobank, which is studying more than 500-thousand people across ten sites in China in an effort to identify the genetic and environmental causes of common diseases.

The signing of the collaboration agreements on Wednesday has been overseen by visiting Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong who also gave a keynote speech at the university's historic Sheldonian Theatre.

In her speech to a large audience of international students and academics, the Vice Premier recalled her experience of visiting the UK about 30 years ago.

"I was on a tour of 11 European countries as part of a delegation from the Chinese Youth Federation. During that trip we met with 84 parties and social organizations and over 300 youth leaders in European countries. And the last stop of our tour was the UK. The rich culture and friendly people as well as the vitality of the country made that trip a memorable experience," Liu said.

The Chinese Vice Premier notes Oxford University has been a famous incubator for innovation.

She says the Golden Era of China-UK relations will bring immense opportunities for the university and its Chinese partners.

Liu Yandong also notes that innovation is also a core strategy of China.

"In the last 5 years, China has seen its research and development funding increase by an annual rate of 11.1% and in 2016, the number reached 1.57 trillion yuan which was ranked number two globally. Great achievements have been made in the creative industries and China now has a sharing economy worth up to 3.5 trillion yuan. China's high-speed rail, Alipay, or Zhifubao, dockless shared bicycles and E-commerce have been described as 'four great new inventions' in modern times," Liu noted.

The Chinese Vice Premier is also calling on universities from both sides to seize opportunities and expand collaboration in key areas such as medical studies, the digital economy and renewable energies.

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