The 5th China-Sweden Joint Committee Meeting (JCM) on Science and Technology Cooperation, the high-level biannual meeting for policy dialogue and information exchange, took place in Beijing on 24 September. The JCM was co-chaired by Li Meng, Vice Minister of China’s Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) and our State Secretary of the Ministry of Education and Research, Malin Cederfeldt Östberg. H.E. Ambassador of Sweden to China, Helena Sångeland also attended the JCM and highlighted, in her opening marks, the positive role played by science and innovation cooperation in promoting the development of the bilateral relationship.
Our Office had the great pleasure, in close cooperation with our colleagues from Ministry of Education and Research, to support and facilitate the participation of the Swedish delegation in the JCM. Many thanks to our dear colleagues, Magnus Härviden and Åsa Karlsson, for a great Stockholm-Beijing teamwork!
Also, our special thanks go to Counsellor DAI Gang and Madam ZHAO Jing and Madam SHI Ling at the MoST for this efficient and fruitful JCM in Beijing!
Here are a few observations from the JCM that we would like to share:
- Both sides expressed a broad interest in and strong commitment to engage in this bilateral policy and information exchange. On the Swedish side, we had a sizable delegation, including the Swedish Research Council (VR), the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat, Sweden’s Innovation Agency (VINNOVA), the Swedish Energy Agency (STEM), the Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education (STINT) and Swedish Incubators and Science Parks (SiSP). On the Chinese side, together with the MoST, the most important research and innovation agencies, institutes and organizations were presented, such as the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE), the Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), the China Association for Science and Technology (CAST), the National Center for Science and Technology Evaluation (NCSTE) and Torch High Technology Industry Development Center. In addition to high-level representatives at the national level, representatives from Beijing municipality, Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces were also invited to the JCM and provided their inputs to the future bilateral cooperation with Sweden.
- The policy exchange and cooperation review were informative and frank. With Sweden being one of the leading knowledge and innovation nations in the World and China as an emerging knowledge- and innovation powerhouse, it is not difficult to find common interests for cooperation. As a matter of fact, Sweden and China have built a solid cooperation in basic research and researcher mobility. However, a successful cooperation requires trust, openness, transparency and new-thinking. The exchanges regarding both opportunities and challenges faced by the current bilateral cooperation were open, straightforward and constructive.
- Research, innovation and sustainable development – in both countries and in a global context was highlighted as the common ground for future cooperation. Both State Secretary Malin Cederfeldt Östberg and Vice Minister Li Meng highlighted the role of research and innovation in contributing to addressing societal and global challenges. For Sweden, the main focus of the Research Bill from 2016 was on increasing the institutional funding and to support research that is needed to face societal challenges. Since the adoption of Agenda 2030 and the sustainable development goals (SDGs), the ambition and the actions to contribute to the global sustainable development from the research community has been more decisive and active than ever. For China, the innovation-driven development strategy and the transformation towards high-quality growth, in essence, reflects a high ambition of and a new thinking on China’s sustainable development. MoST has already launched its Agenda 2030 innovation demonstration cities/zones in China.
In connection to the JCM, the Swedish delegation also made two interesting official visits in Beijing to learn about the cutting-edge research capacity that is being developed at Chinese universities as well as the R&D and innovation activities, carried out by the most research-intensive Swedish multinationals in China.
For our office, the JCM has been a great learning opportunity to gain an overview of the current and the future bilateral cooperation in the fields of research and innovation. More importantly, it has been a valuable occasion for us to deepen our understanding of and dialogues with the key stakeholders in the research and innovation system – on both the Swedish and the Chinese sides.
Last and but not least, thank you all, the Swedish delegates and our colleagues in Stockholm and in Eskilstuna as well as our colleagues at the Embassy in Beijing, who could not join the JCM, but have been a great support for the JCM – for your interest, your trust and your engagement!
We are looking forward to supporting you and working with you, to make the cooperation and transformation journey, from ambition to reality in the near future…
See you next time in Beijing!
 For more details, see the press release from the MoST (in Chinese).
Nannan Lundin, Linnea Yang and Jessica Zhang