EMBASSY OF SWITZERLAND IN BEIJING

Science, Technology and Education News from China
Science, Technology and Education News from China
Newsletter (pdf) - Archive 2005

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N° 18  December 2005 10 p.  93 kb
 

China is already one of the world's leading countries in terms of its number of research publications. China is now the 5th largest country in the world, in S&T, after USA, Japan, UK and Germany. However, a recent study (cf. article) analyzed that in the fields of information, bio-science, new materials, energy, resources and environment, advanced manufacturing, the level of research is still 5 years behind. But it is strongly likely that the government support will continue to improve the level quickly in the coming few years.

This is one of the reasons justifying Switzerland's S&T cooperation with China. A next strategic symposium is planned in the field of materials. Recently, we launched an Einstein Awards Program (cf. articles) to invite the best Chinese physicists to visit Switzerland and Germany. Physics cooperation between Switzerland and China is already strong, including CERN, and the latest news (cf. article) are the nomination of ETH Prof. Maurice Rice as Chairman of the boosted Centre of Theoretical and Computational Physics of the University of Hong Kong.

Follow-up workshops in the strategic fields can be applied for at ETH (nominated as Swiss Institutional Leading House for China). The potential cooperation includes the exchange of researchers, fellowships: in the next two years there will be up to 15 research fellowships per annum available for application (details can be found on www.china.ethz.ch, deadline for 2006 fellowships in February, for workshops in April).

As usual, we remind that Switzerland and China also cooperate with FP6 funding (there are currently interesting calls opened), and with Marie Curie fellowships.

 

   
N° 17  November 2005 20 p.  147 kb
 

A number of events have happened this month with Swiss participation.

The Sino-Swiss Workshop on Environment and Sustainability was the latest strategic symposium financed by the Swiss (State Secretariat of Education and Research) and Chinese (Ministry of Education and Research) and co-organized by Swiss and Chinese coordinators ETH and ACCA21, and our support. Around 30 Swiss researchers and 45 Chinese researchers participated, making speeches and discussing potential co-cooperation. Topics were wide, from water management, bio-diversity, bio-treatment, ... to new energy, transport management, and from environmental policy to industrial ecology. Last year's strategic symposium on bio-technology having generated a number of strong contacts followed by successive meetings, it is very likely that the topic of environment will also succeed in sino-swiss cooperation.

As the same time, a symposium "Environmental Protection on Law Symposium" included Swiss participation, including EMPA (Materials Science and Technology) which is managing the project of co-operation with China in the field of eWaste. The symposium was organized by the National People's Congress that we are confident will cooperate with Switzerland on the establishment of a future eWaste law.

Talking about eWaste, Swiss company Dietiker/Immark, co-organized a large conference in Shanghai, "World Recycling - Shanghai '05". In parenthesis, the central government has "nominated" the three cities Beijing, Tianjin, Hangzhou to implement pilot eWaste treatment (and collection and recycling chains).

At the same time as the first symposium above-mentioned, the current catastrophe of Jinan/Heilongjiang happened respectively was announced. The articles on the catastrophe are not included in this newsletter, as it evolves daily.

Articles on bird flu are still not includes; our website can be consulted.

 

   
N° 16  October 2005 18 p.  125 kb
 

This month, China has illustrated the development of research with a number of successes. The most famous one is obviously the successful flight to space of the new Shenzhen VI spacecraft. A large number of newtechnologies have been developed by China for Shenzhen VI, in cooperation with Japan and the USA, in various fields, digital cameras, satellite telecommunications, new materials (900 new materials!), dehydrated vegetables, space breeding, etc.

It appears that a world-class new material has been developed by the Changchun Research Institute of Applied Chemistry; it has developed a new polyacrylamide chemical product with potential use in sewage treatment.

In health research, China is intensively increasing the financing of research. In the field of AIDS research, its budget is USD 100 mio. Research is successful: China found which gene causes leukemia.

In the field of health, due to intensive press coverage and daily evolution of bird flu, our news on this topic are moved on a frequent basis from this newsletter to our website www.eda.admin.ch/beijing.

Finally, we would like to remind that FP6 -in its last phase- has open topics that could potentially finance research cooperation between Switzerland and China (FP6 also finances Chinese researchers).

 

   
N° 15  September 2005 20 p.  136 kb
 

Switzerland has been strongly represented this month in China in the field of education, research and environment.

In particular, State Secretary of Education and Research, Charles Kleiber, paid a visit to Beijing, accompanied in Beijing by a delegation of rectors of Swiss universities. Amongst others, M. Kleiber met with the vice-ministers of education, science and technology to discuss the status and future of cooperation in superior education, research and technology (cf. article number 9).

The International Risk Governance Council's (IRGC), a foundation that was founded in Switzerland last year, had its second yearly meeting in Beijing and organised a symposium "Risk Governance and Sustainable Development in China". The topic and objective is a global approach to global risks management, from natural hazards to climate change, from terrorism to diseases. Besides the government, Switzerland was strongly participating, with scientists -including ETH Nobel Price Richard R. Ernst -, companies -SwissRe-, etc.

The "International High-Level Forum on Bioeconomy", organised by the China National Center for Biotechnology Development (CNCBD), the entity that co-organised the Swiss-Chinese biotech symposium in 2004, was also strongly attended by Swiss scientists. It was co-chaired by ETH Nobel Price Richard R. Ernst, and its sessions "Biotechnology Industry" by Serono. Parliamentary M. Cavalli attended the session "Medical Biotechnology".

In the field of environment, SECO financed two successful and very relevant symposiums this month: "The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM): New Market and Investment Opportunities", in the 9th China International Fair for Investment and Trade in Xiamen, and "Financing e-Waste Management and Extended Producer Responsibility in China", as part of the R'05 7th World Congress on Recovery, Recycling and Re-Integration in Beijing.

 

   
N° 14  August 2005 20 p.  144 kb
 

In the past few months, it seems China is boosting the application of laws and organization to ensure environment and health protection. This month, a draft law on animal welfare ensures animals rights, for example being free from hunger and misery. However, this law has a much broader impact on environment and health protection since it also includes diseases and scare prevention.

A few months ago, it was a draft law on electronic waste. The good news is that SECO just launched a project, the second phase of "Knowledge Partnerships in e-Waste Recycling", in South Africa, India and China. InChina, it will indeed cover legal and organizational issues. The project is run by EMPA and on the eWaste topic EMPA will also cooperate with another SECO-financed project, "Environmental footprint".

Again on the topic of environmental protection law, the Environment and Resources Protection Committee of National People's Congress is organizing an "International Forum on Environmental Legislation and Sustainable Development" from 20 and 22 November and hopes Swiss participation.

A few months ago, a very controversial initiative has been taken to implement the calculation of the "green GDB". The city of Beijing is indeed starting to calculate its 2004 development.

In the field of science and technology, China this month distinguished itself about supercomputers, fuel cell technology, transgenic cotton, mathematics, anti-tumor drug.

 

   
N° 13  July 2005 20 p.  125 kb
 

Besides a few interesting results of Chinese research, it appears to us that the most relevant information by the Chinese official press in July is on the recent ETH development of hydrogen-powered car. The reason is because focussed reporting on foreign science proves once more China's interest in hydrogen-powered cars. This was already clear to us last year when PSI participated in the Shanghai Bibendum Competition (cf. press clippings no 4).

The visit of M. Joseph DEISS, Federal Councellor, head of Federal Department of Economy, from July 11 to 19, obviously focussed on economic cooperation and topics. However, it did include cooperation on development by SECO (including the mixed credit) with vice-premier ZENG Peiyan.

 

   
N° 12  June 2005 20 p.  125 kb
 

This month's press clippings illustrate Chin's growing activities in modernizing traditional Chinese medicine, with discoveries amounted related to wheat breeding and vaccines of bird flu outbreak. China, with strong commitment and the help from WHO, will continue to fight one of the most important disease, AIDS.

China is still facing serious environmental problems, according to SEPA's recent report this month, which is caused by China's rapid economic growth which has a major impact on environment and causes intensive environment problems. On the other hand, China to actively develop nuclear power, "green power" and the concept of "Green Olympics" will definitely help resolve the environmental problems.

 

   
N° 11  Mai 2005 18 p.  126 kb
 

The scientific relations between Switzerland and China are gaining momentum, with the signature in Geneva on May 18th of an agreement to cooperate closely in the field of health, more precisely:

  • Prevention, control and information sharing on emerging infectious diseases
  • Preparedness mechanisms in case of public health emergencies
  • Prevention and treatment of non-communicable diseases (e.g. nutrition, obesity, food safety, cancer)
  • Research on bio-medicine
  • Traditional Chinese medicine (regulatory and quality issues, scientific evidence on the effectiveness)
  • Development of human resources in the health sector.

In the field of environment, two projects which had been financed by SECO came to a succesful end: Municipal Solid Waste Management and Hazardous Waste Management. These projects helped define a national strategy and implement it through pilot projects. The National plan is that by 2010 all provinces and municipalities will have their local plan. In certain regions supported by the project, the complete cycle of waste management has been implemented. The project has allowed public management of waste collection as well as the imporvement of technologies. In conclusion these projects will have a positive impact on waste management in the whole country. More information on the pilot projects and their successes can be found on our website.

Besides, SECO has decided to finance a new project with CCICED (China Council on International Cooperation of Environment and Development), to succeed "An Environmental Impact Assessment of China's WTO Accession - An analysis of six sectors" (see Newsletter 5 November 2004 or our website). The new project, "China's Ecological Footprint - Task Force on China's Sustainable Development and Global Product Markets" will analyse a few selected international product chains passing by China.

SwissRe, which actively wupports environment protection in China,awarded again their Annual "International ReSource Award for Sustainable Watershed Management" to two water resources projects in China (see pdf document page 10 - Swiss Re's press release).

 

   
N° 10  April 2005 43 p.  325 kb
 

This month's press clippings illustrate China's growing activities in bio-technology and health research, with discoveries announced in relationship with genetically modified cereals (rice, wheat) and with two of China's most important diseases, SARS and AIDS.

But on the other hand, a domestic study claims that Chinese scientists perform well in mathematics, material science, chemistry and engineering, while having little influence in agricultural science and life science. Criteria are citations, number of publications and patents. What is sure is that the trend is on the uprise.

China's new law on solid waste became effective on April 4th is raising the interest of observers, especially as SEPA recently illustrated itself as a determined, powerful entity. The new law indeed gives SEPA additional power, as it can fine pollutants without proving its accusations (in the past, plaintiffs were responsible for justifying the accusations).

 

   
N° 9  March 2005 49 p.  398 kb
 

In March we learnt about a few interesting Chinese scientific achievements. The prestigious China Science and Technology University in Hefei, Anhui province has developped a unique technology to produce ultra-thin cables. Still in the field of nano-tech, Chinese temas have developped non-crystal material and observed superconducting electrons.

The Chinese government is activelly promoting scientic research. This month, prices were delivered to recoginse achievements in various strategical fields. It is interesting to note that, again, the prime minister emphasised the need for research in energy resources and environment protection. 5 foreigners were also awarded, including Daniel Vasella, CEO of Novartis.

Talking about environment, the most important news is the projection of the 11th Five-Year period (2006-2010) -the government's economic plan- that China will invest 1,300 billion yuan (around 200 billion CHF) in environment protection. This is around double the 10th Five-Year period (2000-2005).

Besides the fact that the amound of articles on water at least reflect the importance of the problem, there are interesting readings on plans for a law on circular economy and on a recent WWF report on China's timber consumption environmental footprint. An interview of environment vice-minister Pan Yue is also particularly interesting.

 

   
N° 8  February 2005 40 p.  313 kb
 

The topic of this month was the Kyoto Protocol in China the same way as around the world. This international treaty aiming at curbing emissions of greenhouse gases went into effect on February 16 2005. China ratified the Protocol in 2002, but is not immediately obliged to any reduction of emissions. However, it is likely that China will prepare itself actively over the next few years. Right now, for example, the first international CDM project in China is prepraring itself.

But even more significant this month was the show of muscle by State Environmental Protection Agency of the Central Government. As described in the last Newsletter, its move to close down 30 large-scale projects across the country is regarded as an "environmental protection storm", which reflects that the Chinese government has begun to use environmental protection as a method to cool down the economy and will pay more attention to environmental management for any new projects. Subsequently, SEPA has threatened 46 power plants of closing and fined the Three Gorges project. Even if there is discussion about who is behind this show of power, what is sure is that it was a success and should have a positive impact on the respect of laws and standards around the country.

 

   
N° 7  January 2005 35 p.  258 kb
  Of particular interest this month is the selection by the Chinese Academy of Science of what they consider to be China's 10 major R&D achievements in 2004. Achievements cover various areas, including IT, bio-technology, geology, physics, nano-technlogy, energy, etc.This provides obviously a partial overview only of China's research discoveries. This month for example, interesting discoveries in bio-technlogy are reported on, as well by the way as the development of the bio-tech industry.

Energy is still the hot topic of environment protection and sustainable development, after a law on green energy was drafted last month. The State Environmental Protection Agency of the Central Government is showing its determination in "an unprecedented move"by closing down 30 large-scale projects across the country. It is to be noted that many of these projects are related to electricity production.

 

   
       

09.02.2015

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