As the last blog for year 2019 from the Science and Innovation Office of Beijing, let us start with warm greetings and sincere thanks to our colleagues and our partners – for your support, your collaboration and your encouragement!
2019 has been a heavy and fruitful year. As we outlined in the beginning of this year, 7 key policy trends will be the focus of our monitoring, analyses and promotion activities in 2019. Here are some highlights of our work and reflections over these key trends:
China’s mass entrepreneurship and innovation 2.0
- On the international women’s day, together with our colleagues in other 5 Science and Innovation Offices, we presented and discussed women in tech-entrepreneurship and tech-business. China has a strong “SHE-economy”. China has a strong “SHE-business power”. On Jack Ma’s “farewell day” from Alibaba, we tried to shed some new lights on China’s entrepreneurship and innovation in a new digital era.
- In 2019, we have had the great pleasure to welcome our colleagues from the Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation, Ministry of Education and Research, Vinnova and Swedish Incubator and Science Park (SiSP) to China. Together, we have carried out an extensive China Start-up and Scale-up Eco-system Scoping Mission and a China Innovation Entrepreneurship Study Tour, for deeper understanding of China’s policy development and more concrete ideas on how to collaborate with China in the fields of entrepreneurship and innovation.
Structural and institutional reforms for national science and innovation management and funding management
- The National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) is the most important Chinese government funding agency for basic research and the most important partner for Sweden in the field of basic research. A close monitoring of the reform of NSFC and detailed exchanges with NSFC have been a high priority for our work in 2019.
Stronger focus on higher education, basic research and their links to innovation development
- One of the new Chinese phrases, “ka bo zi technology”, has also, under 2019, become a key expression in the policy debate when it comes to research and innovation policy. We have made an attempt to illustrate what exactly “ka bo zi technologies” are and how China’s research and innovation policy measures will be developed to tackle it, i.e. to ensure China’s long-term and strategic resilience and competitiveness.
Agenda of Tech for Social Good
China’s All-in-AI strategy as well as China’s rapid progress in AI-development has attracted a great deal of attention worldwide. But a much less understood development is how China applies AI-technology to improve its education system as well as to handle the risks and uncertainties associated with the AI development. To provide some updated information and insights in these fields, we have focused on AI-monitoring from two specific perspectives:
- The policy development of AI, including preventive and governing measures to secure reliable and controllable uses of AI.
- The role of AI in the education sector, as a tool for ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all, i.e. to achieve the sustainable development goal (SDG) 4.
Sustainability, research and innovation
- CCICED is a high-level international advisory body to the Government of China. Sweden has been supporting CCICED since 1998. In 2019, the key focus of Sweden and our support for Sweden’s activities has been the special policy study on sustainable consumption. Having the common vision of an innovation-driven green transformation, the future bilateral cooperation between Sweden and China can make consumption not only healthy, green and inclusive, but also innovative and smart.
- In the field of climate, in addition to China’s key role in international climate negotiations and global climate efforts, China has also become an important dialogue and cooperation partner when it comes to arctic affairs and artic research. Our office has started to follow this new development and facilitated the dialogue and communication on Sweden’s strengths in research capacity and international cooperation in the field of polar research. Another climate-related field that we have looked closely into is the impact of fashion on both climate and sustainable resource utilisation. China is a large producer and consumer of fashion – and is on the way to become a creator and innovator of sustainable fashion. With common interests and strong complementarity of strengths in design, production, innovation and not least in consumer engagement, Sweden and China could turn sustainable fashion into a true co-creation exercise – for making life better and the planet great, again.
- At the operational level, we received and supported many Swedish delegations who are interested in research and innovation collaboration with China, having sustainable development as a focus. The Match-Making Dialogue for Green Technology and Industrial Innovation Cooperation in Qingdao is one of the good examples.
The second National Medium- and Long-Term Program for Science and Technology Development (MLP, 2021 – 2035)
2020 and 2021 will be “super years” for China’s research and innovation policy when both China’s 14th Five-Year-Plan (2021- 2025) and the 2nd Medium- and Long-term Science and Technology Development Plan (2021- 2035) will be prepared and launched. Having this in mind, the policy dialogue with China as well as a deeper understanding of China’s role from a global perspective are of great importance, which have also been the highest priority of our work in 2019:
- China is catching up, keeping up and taking the lead – at the same time and “coopetition” could be the “new normal” when it comes to the strategic relationship between China and the other key global players in the fields of science and innovation.
- An open and constructive policy dialogue and experience exchange between Sweden and China are more important than ever in a complex and challenging time for us all. The 5th China-Sweden Joint Committee Meeting (JCM) on S&T Cooperation, co-chaired by Li Meng, Vice Minister of China’s Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) and the State Secretary of the Ministry of Education and Research, Malin Cederfeldt Östberg, tuned to be a great learning opportunity and a valuable occasion to deepen our understanding of each other.
Finally, 2019 has been a busy year. A rather large number of activities, in form of strategic and operational promotion work has been carried out, through which we met new actors, new partners and deepened our exchanges and mutual learning.
With the knowledge, insights and networks achieved as well as the lessons learned from 2019, we are looking forward to a new year with more inspiration, new ideas and more collaboration opportunities.
Merry Christmas and see you in 2020 in Beijing!
Nannan Lundin, Linnea Yang, Jessica Zhang and Matilde Eng