Science, Technology and Education News from China
Science, Technology and Education News from China
Newsletter (pdf) - Archive 2006

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N° 30  December 2006 10 p.  77 kb

As at the end of every year, the Chinese Academy of Science announced what is considered China's 10 major R&D achievements in 2006. The 10 achievements are:

  • Genetic chip and expression maps for domesticated silkworm
  • New particle discovered on Beijing Positron and Electron Collider
  • National S&T conference decides to enhance proprietary innovation capacity
  • Chinese scientists rolled out genetic engineered vaccine for foot-and-mouth disease
  • China builds the world largest somatic cell bank for stock and poultry
  • Qinghai-Tibet Railway runs through
  • Proprietary LONGXIN IIE CPU accredited
  • Chinese scientists found the key to regulating plant growth
  • China becomes part of ITER
  • China's first AIDS drug formulas

On December the 4th, the Embassy organised in Beijing a successful event, financed by Presence Switzerland, about Alinghi and the China Team's innovations and team work, with speeches by an EPFL delegation and the China Team CEO. Articles in Chinese newspapers explained how Alinghi, "of a country with no access to the sea", won the America's Cup. Scientific participants in the event where, amongst others, were experts of material, numerical analysis of fluid mechanics, micro-technique (measurement tools), operations research.


N° 29  November 2006 9 p.  90 kb

China issued yesterday a five-year program (2006-2010) on international cooperation in science and technology, and promised that key national scientific and technological projects and funds would be open to overseas partners.

Pollution continues to grow in China, and the SEPA (State Environmental Protection Agency) admits in a report that the objectives are not being reached, e.g. about water pollution. A major index of water pollution (chemical oxygen demand) continues to increase in the food-processing, paper-making and chemical industry.

A workshop of Legislation on E-waste Recycling, organised by the Environmental Protection & Resources Conservation Committee, National People's Congress, P. R. China with EMPA's support (Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research), will be held in Beijing on Dec. 12, 2006, within the "Knowledge Partnership in Ewaste Recycling in India, South Africa and China" programme, financed by State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). Participants will include officials from Swiss and Chinese authorities and institutions/universities experts from both sides, who will discuss the current status/problems of legislation of E-waste recycling in China.


N° 28  October 2006 9 p.  69 kb

Federal Councillor and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, Mrs. Micheline Calmy-Rey, visited China from 26th to the 30th October, and, amongst others, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Minister of Education on educational exchange and cooperation, particularly the bilateral scholarship programme, cooperation on science and technology, study on language and culture, bilateral visits and exchange of higher education delegations, as well as vocational education delegation.

Besides, another 'E-waste Study Tour', mainly including experts from the Chinese Electronic Engineering Design Institute, was organised this month in Switzerland within Knowledge Partnership in E-waste Recycling in India, South Africa and China" programme, financed by State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). The latest sub-project in the China program is to support the establishment of the pilot e-waste recycling system in China, under the newly signed MOU between EMPA (Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research) and NDRC (National Development and Reform Commission).

The project "Mapping Chemical Pollutants along the Yangze River (China) below the Three Gorges Dam (TGD)" has been approved recently by SDC (Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation). The project is focused on the chemical analysis of geochemical parameters, anthropogenic organic trace contaminants, and trace metal transported in dissolved and particulate forms.

In the recent "Academic Ranking of World Universities - 2006", made by Shanghai Jiaotong University, ETH ranks the first in continental Europe.

In the second Inter-governmental Review Meeting (IGR-2) for the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (GPA), which was held in Beijing from Oct. 16 to 20, SEPA (State Environmental Protection Administration) expressed strongly that China is taking resolute steps to protect its vast marine environment and abundant marine resources. A "Beijing Declaration" has been approved globally.


N° 27  September 2006 10 p.  79 kb

An ‘E-waste Study Tour’ was organised in August 2006 in Switzerland within the "Knowledge Partnership in E-waste Recycling in India, South Africa and China" programme, financed by State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). A diverse group of stakeholders dealing with electronic waste from India, South Africa, China, and a few others gathered in Switzerland to visit e-waste recycling facilities. Chinese participants included officials from NPC and experts/professors from Peking University and Renmin University. The tour provided an opportunity for participants to learn more about technological, financial, logistical and legal solutions to ewaste challenges faced in their own countries. At the same time, it provided an opportunity to explore the potential of South-South co-operation of participating countries. The e-waste project in China is managed by EMPA, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research, and proactively supported by the Embassy of Switzerland in Beijing. The latest sub-project of the e-waste program in China is to support the National People’s Congress on e-waste legislation.


N° 26  August 2006 10 p.  80 kb

Starting in particular a few months ago, the Chinese government and the press systematically stress the importance of strengthening research and innovation. The number of projects supported by the government will increase. Besides, the list of Chinese beneficiaries of the Sino - Swiss scholarships 2006/2007 is now available. A large part of the beneficiaries, suggested by the Chinese Scholarship Council to the CRUS (Rectors’ Conference of the Swiss Universities), are young researchers, in strategic topics supported by the government: environment, bio-science, nano-science, etc. The list of fields of the beneficiaries follows:

ETHZ Water pollution control, EAWAG
ETHZ Water Resources Management / GIS and Eco-Economy, System, Institut für Hydromechanik und Wasserwirtschaft
ETHZ Robotik und Intelligente Systeme, Institut für Robotik und Intelligente
EPFL Biotechnologie cellulaire, Institut de génie biologique et de biotechnologie
EPFL Energétique industrielle, Faculté des sciences et techniques
Uni Basel English Teacher Training, Englischer Seminar
Uni Basel Medizin / Ophthalmologie, Universitätsspital
Uni Geneva Médecine cardio-vasculaire, Hôpital universitaire
Uni Geneva Technologies de formation et apprentissage TECFA, Faculté de psychologie et des sciences de l'éducation
Uni Geneva Cell therapy of cardiovascular diseases, Hôpitaux universitaires de Genève
Uni Lausanne International Accounting and Auditing, Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales, Accounting and Control
Uni Neuchâtel  Surface and nanoscience, Institut de chimie
Uni St-Gallen International Economics, Swiss Institute for International Economics and Applied, Economic Research
Uni St-Gallen Internationales Handelsrecht, Lehrstuhl für Völker- und Europarecht
Uni St-Gallen Swiss Institute for International Economics, Economic Research
Uni Zürich Corporate social responsibility and the role of the media, Institut für Organisation und Unternehmenstheorien
Uni Zürich Infectious Desease Prevention and, Nationales Zentrum für Retroviren
Uni Zürich Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Institut für Molekularbiologie


N° 25  July 2006 10 p.  113 kb

In the framework of the Year of Einstein, the Swiss and German Embassies organized an Einstein Awards program in China. The objective was to emphasize Switzerland and Germany’s research and innovation strengths to young, brilliant, post-doctoral physicists.

With the help of the Ministry of Education and the Chinese Academy of Science, around 40 candidates participated and have been interviewed in March. The 20 winners have been invited for a 3-week stay in Germany and Switzerland, in July.

The group visited around 20 research institutes and universities, of which, in Switzerland and in chronological order, EPFL, CERN, University of Geneva, Int’l Space Science Institute, University of Bern, University of Basle, Paul Scherrer Institute, ETH Zurich.

Besides discovering some of the top-level research fields, the logistics, life-style, and museums (Swiss Museum of Transport, Einstein Home and exhibition, Olympic Museum, etc), it developed Switzerland’s image as an innovative international country parallel to clichés.

This program’s key Swiss sponsors are the Swiss State Secretariat for Education and Research and Presence Switzerland.


N° 24  June 2006 10 p.  80 kb

Within the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding between the State Secretariat for Education and Research and the Chinese Ministry of Science & Technology, regular symposiums are co-organized to boost cooperation in fields of mutual interest and potential. This year, a symposium on the topic "Material Science" will take place from October 29 to November 1st, 2007, in Switzerland.

Fellowship and workshop Swiss budgets to follow-up on the symposiums are available and managed by ETH Zurich. In March, 9 candidates have been selected as the winners of fellowships for 2006. And this month, the evaluation committee approved the following 3 workshop proposals for this year:

  • Market Diffusion of Renewable Energy Innovation in China and Switzerland Swiss organizer: R. Wüstenhagen, Institute for Economy and Environment, Univ. of St. Gallen Chinese organizer: ZHANG Xiliang, Institute of Energy, Environment and Economy, Tsinghua University
  • Yield Potential of Water Pollution and soil Degradation by Means of Minimum Tillage and No-Tillage Swiss organizer: Anken Thomas, Agroscope ART Chinese organizer: LI Yunsheng, Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS
  • Plant Biotechnology - Engineering Plant Functions for Agriculture Challenges Swiss organizer: Wilhelm Gruissem /Samuel Zeeman/Peng Zhang, Insittute of Plant Sciences, ETH Zurich Chinese organizer: CHEN Xiaoya, Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology, CAS, XUE Yongbiao, Inst. Of Genetics and Developmental Biology, CAS


N° 23  Mai 2006 10 p.  84 kb

A few months after China’s State Council announced its important objective to become one of the strongest countries in innovation (no 5 by 2020), this topic is currently worming up again. One of the reasons is because many university administrators are asking for changes.

One of the objectives is to minimize academic fraud. A recent case (a fake computer chip at the highest level in the world, thanks to which the researcher received substantial financial support) boosted the topic. There are regularly similar cases, maybe of another scale, where some researchers typically falsify their resume or plagiarize academic research. And according to a State Council statistical study, 60% of the researchers had to pay/wanted to pay to publish their research.

The ministries of Education and of S&T have both recently announced measures to reduce corruption and violations. According to an article, the cheating could by stopped by changing a historical reason, namely the fact that high-school students essentially memorize but do not start learning who to research and write reports.

Besides the topic of fraud, the topic of international cooperation is also worming up. While China now has the largest number of S&T staff, only 2% of the world’s top international scientific organizations have Chinese senior co-leaders, as mentioned by the president of the China Association for Science and Technology. During the recent 20th anniversary of the important National Natural Science Foundation, the Prime Minister did emphasize the need to boost international cooperation. A few days later, the Prime Minister outlined eight tasks to implement the 2020 objective.


N° 22  April 2006 10 p.  89 kb

Within the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding between the State Secretariat for Education and Research and the Chinese Ministry of Science & Technology, regular symposiums are co-organized to boost cooperation in fields with relevant potential. This year, a symposium on the topic "Material Science" will take place.

The previous symposiums are followed by fellowships and workshops. A fellowship budget to invite Chinese researchers is available and managed by ETH Zurich. There can be up to 15 research fellowships per annum available for application. An evaluation committee nominates the beneficiaries of the fellowships for each year. Recently, the evaluation committee met and 9 candidates, of the following units, have been selected as the 2006 beneficiaries of Sino-Swiss cooperation fellowships and will join ETH Zurich, EPFL, EAWAG, the University of Geneva and Agroscope FAL Reckenholz, respectively:

  • Department of Geophysics, Peking University
  • Department of Chemistry and Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Fudan University
  • School of Municipal and Environmental Engineering, Harbin Institute of Technology
  • Institute of Resources and Environmental Sciences, China Agricultural University
  • The National Lab of Protein Engineering and Plant Genetic Engineering, College of Life Sciences, Peking University
  • National Lab of Protein Engineering and Plant Genetic Engineering, College of Life Sciences, Peking University
  • Department of Plant Biology and Ecology, Nankai University
  • School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Nanjing University
  • Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Resarch, Chinese Academy of Sciences
N° 21  March 2006 9 p.  111 kb

A large and successful event, "From E=mc2 to modern science - Einstein Awards", took place in Beijing on March 16th, where the Swiss and German Embassies announced that 20 Chinese doctoral candidates for physics are invited to Switzerland and Germany for three-weeks this summer. A few days earlier, the candidates have been interviewed by a small German, Swiss and Chinese group of experts, including Professor Dr. Maurice Bourquin of the University of Geneva, Department of Nuclear and Corpuscular Physics, former Rector of the University of Geneva and President of the CERN council, and Professor Dr. Christian Kiesling, Max Planck Institute for Physics. Out of the 20 winners, 8 are based in North China (in particular in Beijing), 8 in West China (in particular in Shanghai), and the rest in Central China. In the event, a key speech was made by Prof. Lino Guzzella, director of the Measurement and Control Laboratory, ETH Zurich, on his world record of ecological fuel consumption by hydrogen-powered car PAC II.


N° 20  February 2006 10 p.  80 kb

The State Council published at the beginning of this month the medium- and long-term program of science and technology development, namely from 2006 to 2020. China's objective is to have reached in 2020 the world's 5th position of scientific and technical innovation. Therefore, the State Council will now allocate 2.5% of GDP to this field, instead of 1.23% in 2002 or 0.83% en 1999.

A detailed list of fields with strategic support has been published, and it clearly focuses on environment protection and sustainability.

11 industrial sectors' innovation is considered a priority. Sectors of environment protection include waste treatment, waste water treatment, energy, and transport. Others are agriculture, communications, health, urbanization, manufacturing, public security, national defense.


N° 19  January 2006 18 p.  124 kb

China a has announced its official 10 best 2005 research progresses, many fields of which are actually national projects supported by the government : the Shenzhou-6 manned space flight ; the Qinghai-Tibet Railway; 64-bit high-performance and general-purpose micro-processor Godson-II ; expeditionary team of the Antarctic ice-cap ; the most voluminous compendium of plant taxonomy in the world ; controlling the spin state of a single molecular; re-measurement of the elevation of Mt. Qololungma; China's continental scientific drilling; synthesis and drug delivery properties of novel hollow mesoporous silica spheres; topresolution virtual man.

Because of the type and size of these projects, it potentially “hides” in this short list other great progresses in strategic fields of particular interest (e.g. biotechnology, environment protection, etc).

But at a national conference on science and technology on January 9, Chinese President Hu Jintao did also focus on necessary further improvement of China’s scientific and technological level, to reach the world’s top level. It was reported last month by the Ministry of Science and Technology that research is still 5 years behind the world’s top level. The President estimated that it requires 15 years to reach the top innovation-oriented countries. He is actually referring to a broad meaning of innovation, including for example to innovative law.




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