Anglo-Chinese Co-operation

Oral Answers to Questions — Innovation, Universities and Skills – in the House of Commons at 10:30 am on 26th July 2007.

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Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Chair, Education & Skills Committee, Chair, Education & Skills Committee 10:30 am, 26th July 2007

What steps he is taking to promote closer partnerships in teaching and research between English and Chinese universities.

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Photo of John Denham John Denham Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills

The Government support numerous initiatives to promote closer partnerships with China. Following the Prime Minister's initiative, more than 50,000 Chinese students are currently studying in the UK. The UK-China partners in science initiative identifies potential areas of research collaboration and funds networking between scientists. The research councils will shortly open their first overseas office in Beijing. Our relationship is highly productive. In 2005, this country published more papers jointly with Chinese authors than any other European Union country.

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Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Chair, Education & Skills Committee, Chair, Education & Skills Committee

Does my right hon. Friend accept that, on the Select Committee's recent visit to universities in China, we found a great willingness to engage in serious participation, both at student level and, much more seriously, involving partnerships that really add value for both sides? One senior president of a university told the Select Committee that we could double the research budgets of British universities through closer collaboration and greater emphasis on senior and progressive work.

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Photo of John Denham John Denham Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills

I am interested in my hon. Friend's reflections on his visit. I shall be going to China myself at the end of October to help to promote links between our universities and those in China. There are already more than 150 collaborative projects in place between universities here and in China, but if the scope for expanding those links is as great as my hon. Friend suggests, we must clearly do everything that we can to take advantage of them.

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