Chinese and UK scientists meet in high-level forum with support from the IOP

4 December 2017

The UK-China Science and Innovation Forum, organised by the China-Britain Business Council, is taking place on 6 December at the Royal Society in London, with the support of the IOP.

Chinese and UK scientists meet in high-level forum with support from the IOP

This forms part of our programme of supporting international collaboration and the Forum is an opportunity for us to strengthen the collaborative networks we have with our Chinese colleagues; our most recent event was in July.

It is part of the 5th annual Ministerial meeting between the UK and China. A series of events is being held from 4–7 December, consolidating relations between the two countries on health, education, culture, tourism, sport and science.

Improving scientific collaboration with China remains as important as ever as the country’s scientific influence grows. The Chinese government is implementing a comprehensive investment strategy to ensure its scientific facilities are some of the most technologically advanced in the world. High-profile projects include constructing the world’s biggest radio telescope. China has plans to build the Circular Electron-Positron Collider; this giant facility aims to be at least twice the size of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, and would be large enough to encircle the island of Manhattan in New York. Additionally, by the end of 2018, China is aiming to send the first space mission to the other side of the Moon.

We recognise that the rising influence of China is changing the nature of UK scientific partnerships. Our participation in this week’s Forum forms part of an exciting programme of collaboration between our two countries that started with meetings in London and Beijing last year, which led us to facilitate a visit from the Chinese Physical Society (CPS) over the summer. During a week-long programme, our specialist groups met their Chinese counterparts working across a number of areas including nuclear physics, particle physics, accelerator science and neutron scattering. We also arranged tours of key national facilities and discussed ways to continue to explore areas of mutual interest. The meeting was such a success that a follow-up meeting in Beijing has been proposed to continue to strengthen our relationship with the CPS.  

Our international profile makes us well placed to help our community to build even stronger links with the Chinese scientific community, as China has fast become one of the most important research partners for the UK physics community. IOP Publishing has regional offices throughout the world, including one in Beijing, and publishes more than 70 journals that are read in more than 180 countries; indeed, there has been an average annual growth of 18% in accepted papers from China over the last three years in IOP-owned journals. Additionally, Physics World is currently in its third year of producing a country profile focusing on China, utilising the regional expertise that the IOPP is able to provide. Read the latest profile here.

Furthermore, the work we have undertaken to encourage scientific exchanges between UK and Chinese physicists over several years, not only supports the narrative of the UK-China Science and Innovation Forum, but also reflects the growth in China’s research and development. This growth has been supported by UK efforts, an example of which is the collaborative research programmes relating to pulsed spallation neutron sources between scientists and engineers at the Chinese Spallation Neutron Source and the ISIS facility in Oxfordshire.

We anticipate that the highlight of the Forum will be the consolidation of the UK-China Science and Innovation Strategy. This document creates a framework for future collaboration and encourages a greater commitment to the shared vision of UK-China activities and, importantly, highlights the important role of physics-based research and its applications in driving this collaboration. Currently, Germany is the only country to have such an arrangement with China.

For all these reasons we are looking forward to the Forum. If you would like to share any of your thoughts on this with us, or examples of your collaborative activities that we could help to showcase, then we would very much like to hear from you. Send your thoughts to

We will report back on the progress made at the Forum shortly.

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