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Press Release No. 19 | 10 June 2013
A Visit to China Gives Significant Impetus to Partnerships in Research

DFG President Professor Dr. Peter Strohschneider and Secretary General Dorothee Dzwonnek Travelled to Beijing for Talks on Science Policy / New Special Fund for Bilateral Research Training Groups Announced

Representatives at the highest level of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) have spent a week in Beijing with the aim of maintaining the long-standing good relations between Germany and China and of initiating further collaboration. DFG President Professor Dr. Peter Strohschneider and Secretary General Dorothee Dzwonnek held a series of talks on science policy with their counterparts in Chinese partner organisations and with high-ranking science policymakers. The visit took place during a period of particularly intense dialogue between Germany and China at various levels of political, economic and scientific life, which also saw the Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang pay a visit to Germany.

The visit to China was DFG President Professor Strohschneider's first major foreign trip since he took office in January and underlined the special importance that the DFG, Germany's central self-governing organisation for research, attaches to collaboration with China. The DFG runs the Sino-German Center for Research Promotion (CDZ) in Beijing jointly with its partner organisation, the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC). Opened in 2000, the CDZ was the DFG's first representation abroad and since then has helped researchers from China and Germany to initiate joint research projects by providing in-depth advice and organising bilateral symposia.

The agenda for this visit included the first meeting with the NSFC President, Professor Yang Wei, who also took up his post this year. An engineering scientist, he was previously President of the renowned Zhejiang University for seven years and has excellent knowledge of the Chinese university system. The President also met the new Vice President of the NSFC and the Chairman of the Joint Committee of the CDZ, Professor Liu Congqiang. More talks were held with the directors of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS). The President of CAS, Professor Bai Chunli and Professor Strohschneider had both attended the second annual meeting of the Global Research Council (GRC) in Berlin at the end of May. The relationship between the DFG and CASS is based on an agreement signed over 30 years ago. Professor Strohschneider used his visit to Beijing to continue his discussions with Vice President Professor Li Yang and other representatives of the Academy.

The scientific highlight of the trip was a visit to the Ministry of Science and Technology and a meeting with the Chinese Minister for Research, Professor Wan Gang, who had just returned to Beijing from his trip to Germany as a member of Prime Minister Li Keqiang's delegation. Professor Wan Gang, who received his doctorate in Germany at the Technical University of Claustal, is a committed supporter of intensive German-Chinese research cooperation; thanks to his many years in Germany, he is thoroughly familiar with both research systems and also has many business contacts.

As well as nurturing existing relationships, the trip also served to improve real funding opportunities for joint research projects. During Professor Strohschneider's visit to the Chinese Ministry of Education (MoE), Vice President Hao Ping announced plans to establish a special fund with which to finance German-Chinese Research Training Groups. The DFG currently funds three bilateral Research Training Groups jointly with the MoE. This special fund will provide a reliable framework for setting up further German-Chinese Research Training Groups, the DFG's most important instrument for funding German and Chinese early career researchers. The relationship between the DFG and the Chinese Ministry of Education is based on an over 30-year-old agreement, which will be replaced with a new extended version to be signed at the next summit meeting.

The DFG Executive Board was very pleased by the progress and the outcomes achieved by the visit. "I was particularly impressed by the friendly atmosphere in which all our meetings and discussions took place," said Professor Strohschneider.

Further Information

Media contact:

  • Marco Finetti,
    Head of DFG Press and Public Relations,
    Tel. +49 228 885-2230,

Contact at DFG Head Office on German-Chinese collaboration:

  • Dr. Ingrid Krüßmann,
    Director in the International Affairs Division,
    East Asia and South Asia,
    Tel. +49 228 885-2786,

Contacts at the Sino-German Center for Research Promotion (CDZ) in Beijing: