Tackling Societal Challenges: Water Security and Urban Agriculture – a DRAGON-STAR study

The purpose of DragonSTAR WP3 was to investigate EU-China research collaboration & reciprocity opportunities with the specific objectives of:

  1. Studying Chinese national agencies as well as programmes related to research and innovation and access opportunities and issues for EU researchers;
  2. Helping improve EU’s understanding of the respective research system in China;
  3. Developing the most appropriate methodology for increasing the awareness on access opportunities in China to the European research community and supporting bilateral collaboration.

One of the approaches used to achieve these objectives was through the use of case studies in areas of mutual interest to the EU and China. By investigating the case studies in detail in terms of their Chinese policy drivers, funding opportunities and research areas, a clearer understanding of some of the more general issues surrounding the overarching objectives were elucidated.

The two case studies selected were ‘water security’ and ‘urban agriculture’. These topics were chosen because there was high-level interest in further collaboration (e.g. EU-China Joint Declaration on Urbanisation 2012 and the EU-China Food Agriculture and Biotechnology (FAB) Flagship Initiative in 2013) or because funded examples of Sino-European research collaboration existed (e.g. FP7 SPRING, EuropeAid EU-China River Basin Management Programme, China Europe Water Platform). Also, they are both topics of global significance and limiting factors in China’s economic and social development.

Previous studies investigating opportunities for EU-China research collaboration have focussed on the literature published in the English language and available through international databases and search engines such as Scopus. The approach used for this study was to investigate the case studies with a focus on information and research published in Chinese as the majority of research in China is still published in this format which is usually inaccessible to international researchers. Due to the complexities of the Chinese governance and funding systems, much of this information is highly fragmented, difficult to obtain and presented in highly technical language which is often difficult to translate into English. It is also worth noting that the information gathered for this report is that which has been considered suitable for public release. There will be considerable information withheld from public scrutiny, particularly from international scrutiny, for reasons of confidentiality and concerns about how the information will be used.


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