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Minister Charles Flanagan Welcomes Announcement of New Collaborative Research Funding Partnership between Science Foundation Ireland and the National Natural Science Foundation of China


18th October 2016 –Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charles Flanagan, today welcomed the announcement by Science Foundation Ireland and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) that both agencies have entered into a new partnership which will support collaborative research projects between researchers in the People’s Republic of China and Ireland.

The announcement, which was made on the occasion of the Export Trade Council meeting at Iveagh House in Dublin, is a direct result of an agreement signed by the agencies in Beijing on the occasion of the state visit by President Michael D. Higgins to the People’s Republic of China in 2014.  

The SFI-NSFC partnership will focus on developing research relationships between the two countries with an emphasis on supporting impactful research of scientific excellence. Successful research projects will be in areas of strategic importance to the People’s Republic of China and Ireland.

The programme will see successful projects receiving funding of up to €1 million from Science Foundation Ireland with the NSFC providing equivalent funding for the research elements being undertaken in the People’s Republic of China.

Speaking at Iveagh House, Minister Flanagan said “I am delighted to announce this major partnership between Science Foundation Ireland and the NSFC, particularly on the day of an Asia-Pacific focused Export Trade Council meeting. I have no doubt that the links Ireland is forging with partners in China in the areas of science and technology will be of tremendous benefit as we strive to diversify the breadth and reach of Irish trade in years to come, and will support jobs in both countries.”

Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, commented “Over the past number of years Science Foundation Ireland has invested €2 million through the International Strategic Cooperation Award to build research links between Ireland and the People’s Republic of China.  This new partnership will leverage that investment and encourage further development of relationships between these two nations. Ireland is leading the way in many scientific and technological fields. Combining the expertise and resources of researchers in the People’s Republic of China and Ireland will produce research which will benefit the scientific community worldwide”.

Dr. Yue Xiaoyong, Chinese Ambassador to Ireland, noted that” China is implementing the innovation-driven development strategy and the 13th Five-Year Plan for Science, Technology and Innovation, and Ireland is implementing the strategy Innovation 2020. China and Ireland have many similarities and complementarities in development strategies, objectives and priorities of science, technology and innovation, therefore it is necessary for both sides to strengthen cooperation. The NSFC-SFI partnership announced today is one of most important achievements in governmental science and technology cooperation between our two countries, anchoring a new starting point for the further expansion of bilateral cooperation. I believe this partnership will not only deepen the exchanges between Irish and Chinese scientists, but also help further enhance cooperation of R&D institutions and enterprises between our two countries with a view to achieving mutual benefit and common development.”

The programme documents for the partnership programme will be launched by Science Foundation Ireland and the NSFC in early 2017.