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Scientists plan closer co-operation

Hits:3181   Date: 5/25/2006
BEIJING, May 25 -- US scientists hope to collaborate more closely with their Chinese counterparts, according to the US National Science Foundation (NSF) which launched its third world office in Beijing yesterday.

"With the new office, we expect to bring up more new ideas and further programmes in such areas as physics, bioscience and information science," said Arden L Bement, director of NSF.

He added that research into global problems such as climate change, ecological disasters and the spread of contagious diseases would be their priority.

"Our collaboration will not only focus on the nature of these problems, but also ways to deal with them," said Dr Bement.

Beijing is the third city outside the US where the NSF has set up a local office, following branches in Tokyo and Paris.

Bement said the new office followed growing co-operation between scientists from both countries in recent years.

"We have seen that there are greater opportunities ahead, so we've set-up people here to facilitate further collaboration," he added.

NSF's Beijing office will be led by William YB Chang, who has more than 20 years experience in science and engineering research, education and policy in China.

Aside from research the NSF will also double its funding for student exchanges over the next few years, said Bement.

"It is important because it can lead to a closer understanding of each other's country, especially among young scientists," he explained.

One of the related programmes is a young scientist exchange plan, jointly initiated by the NSF and the Ministry of Science and Technology, which started in 2004.

Under the programme about 30 US master or doctor candidates come to work in China's universities or research institutes each year, receiving tuition from Chinese mentors for eight weeks.

The NSF has had a close bond with Chinese scientific organizations since the 1980s.

Statistics show that over the years it has spent about US$15 million in Sino-US scientific research programmes.

(Source: China Daily)