Multimillion euros boost for Sino-Dutch research

2 September 2011

Over the coming three years, the Netherlands will be investing almost 5 million euros in a special scientific research programme with China. On 30 and 31 August, and 1 September , State Secretary Zijlstra of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) signed agreements on this programme with four Chinese partners in Beijing.

Staatssecretaris Halbe ZijlstraState Secretary Zijlstra of the Ministry of Education Culture and Science OCW

With this significant funding, the science organisations NWO (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research) and KNAW (Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Science) can continue the successful Joint Scientific Thematic Research Programme (JSTP) with China.

The Ministry of OCW and the scientific organisations KNAW and NWO are pleased about the continuation of the research programme in cooperation with Chinese partners. China is developing at a fast pace in terms of scientific research. It is therefore important to bolster science relations with that country. State Secretary Halbe Zijlstra signed the new agreements with China in the presence of the chair of the NWO, Jos Engelen, and the president of the KNAW, Robbert Dijkgraaf.

On the Dutch side, an annual investment of 1.6 million euros will be made. The Ministry of OCW and the NWO will each contribute 750,000 euros a year to the funding of projects with Chinese partners. In addition, the KNAW intends to invest 100,000 euros annually in bilateral seminars. On the Chinese side, these investments in the programme will be matched by the four Chinese partners.

Unique cooperation

The aim of JSTP is to further sustainable cooperation in research between Dutch and Chinese researchers. Based on an annual theme, Sino-Dutch research teams can submit proposals for collective projects. Over the past years, the themes have included Integrated Water Management and Hybrid Conversion of Biomass. The theme in 2011 is: Medical Devices for an Ageing Society.

The Ministry of OCW, the NWO and the KNAW are the Dutch partners within the JSTP. On the Chinese side, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Education, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences are the partners participating in the programme.  

The JSTP is unique because it is the only example of a bilateral research programme with China in which four Chinese partners collaborate. The JSTP was launched in 2009. Since then, ten research projects have been launched and six seminars have been held.

State Secretary Zijlstra is grateful that the programme has been extended: “This is a very special programme due to its content, because the themes are selected every year, and from the point of view of policy, because it is the first programme in which the seven most important  scientific research organisations in China and the Netherlands are collaborating.’’

In his speech at the signing, Mr Zijlstra drew attention to the interim evaluation of the JSTP: “The results are positive. An external evaluation states that the programme is the right way to intensify relations between Chinese and Dutch researchers. And it is almost even more important that the seven participating organisations were so enthusiastic and eager to continue the programme.’’

About the NWO

The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) is an independent funding body for Dutch science and its mission is to facilitate excellent scientific research in the Netherlands by means of national competition. Each year, the NWO spends more than 700 million euros on grants for top research and top researchers, on innovative instruments and equipment, and on institutes where top research is performed. The NWO funds the research of more than 5300 talented researchers at universities and institutes. Independent experts select proposals by means of a peer review system. The NWO facilitates the transfer of knowledge to society.