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UK and China launch 3-year, £20M low carbon innovation program

6 March 2014

The UK and China have agreed to a new £20-million (US$33-million) three-year program that will support research to develop new low carbon manufacturing processes and technologies, low carbon cities and offshore renewables in the two countries.

Representatives from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), as part of the Research Councils UK (RCUK) Energy Program, signed a new memorandum of understanding (MoU) at a meeting in London which was witnessed by the UK’s Minister of State for Climate Change, Greg Barker.

Under the MoU, the UK and China will each commit £10 million of matched resources over the next three years and there will be approximately £6.6 million (US$11 million) available each year. The agreement, is the latest collaboration in a series of joint research programmes stretching over the last five years.

Since 2007, RCUK has invested more than £29 million (US49 million) in joint UK-China energy research projects, most of which have been supported by matched resources from Chinese funders, the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

The collaborative efforts have included a number of calls:

  • In 2008-2009, the initial UK-China energy calls were launched, in partnership with MoST; topics included renewable energy technologies and cleaner fossil fuels;

  • In 2009, RCUK funded four innovation-focused projects through the RCUK Science Bridges initiative. One of these collaborations was in the theme of sustainable energy and the built environment;

  • The RCUK Energy Programme launched co-funded calls with both CAS and NSFC in 2010-2011: RCUK and NSFC invested £5.6 million (US$9.4 million) in the first call, supporting research into carbon capture and storage technologies; the second call focused on solar cells, solar fuels and fuel cells, with £5 million (US$8 million) investment from RCUK and CAS;

  • In 2012-2013, two further calls were run by RCUK and NSFC. The first was in smart grids; RCUK and NSFC investment totalled £6.6 million (US$11 million). The second call focused on the integration of smart grids and electric vehicles, with a total investment of £8.2 million (US$14 million);

  • In 2013-2014, RCUK and NSFC supported five joint projects in energy storage, with £10 million investment from the RCUK Energy Programme and NSFC.

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