AWARD, INTERNATIONAL CO-OPERATION
China gives top honour to German AIDS scientist
China, in a gesture of goodwill, recently gave one of its top accolades for foreign nationals to a German scientist for his significant contribution to socio-economic development in the world’s most populated country.
Each year, the Chinese government honours foreign experts with a ‘Friendship Award’ for their contributions to the nation’s development in a range of fields, including politics, economics, education and science. One of this year’s awards was granted to Professor Hans Wolf of Regensburg University for his efforts to help tackle China’s HIV/AIDS pandemic.
|Example of the rural china Hans Wolf travelled in for his HIV research|
© Image: FAO (F. Botts)
In a ceremony on 29 September 2004, the People’s Republic of China bestowed its top honour on Professor Wolf, saying that the scientist’s 26-year collaboration with the Chinese Centre for Disease Control (CDC) to produce HIV vaccines showed remarkable determination. He is one of the few foreign scientists who travelled to the remote rural areas of China for research on HIV and other poverty-related diseases at that time.
Part of the professor’s investigations have taken place under the auspices of the Union’s Framework Programmes for research, starting with the Fourth Framework Programme (FP4), in which he undertook joint research with Chinese partners through the International Co-operation (INCO) programme. This collaboration led to the development of a Clade C-based HIV-1 vaccine for use in China.
A framework for collaboration
In fact, even greater collaboration between the EU and China was made possible in the years that followed thanks to the signing, in 1998, of a scientific co-operation agreement allowing Chinese researchers to participate more actively in the Fifth Framework Programme (FP5). This relationship was strengthened further still in the current programme (FP6), where joint research projects qualify for funding from both the Commission and the Chinese government.
Evidence of China’s eagerness to take its rightful place in the world’s scientific community can be seen in the number of collaborative projects between its researchers and those in Japan, the USA and, increasingly, in the EU.
At the start of this decade, China counted well over half a million researchers spread fairly evenly across research centres, industry and academia. Despite this potent pool of home-grown talent, China has often expressed its interest in attracting scientists from other nations, including those in the Union.
The growing ties between the EU and China owe something to the pioneering steps made by Professor Wolf. In over two decades, he has built close relationships with some of China’s top research institutes, such as the CDC and the Chinese Academy of Science. As a result, groups of Chinese researchers have been trained at Regensburg University – among them are today’s leading Chinese scientists on HIV.
Delegation of the European Commission to China and Mongolia (S&T section)
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EU-China science and technology co-operation promotion officeEU-China international co-operation agreementRegensburg University