The Netherlands signs Memorandum of Understanding with Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology

Fons Klein TuenteAgri-food, Chemistry, Energy, Life Sciences & Health, Sino-Dutch collaboration, Water 1 Comment

On September 27, 2023, Ministers Robbert Dijkgraaf and Micky Adriaansens formalised a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology, outlining a renewed framework for collaboration in Science, Technology, and Innovation. The agreement underscores the commitment of the Netherlands and China to fundamental values in their collaborative efforts.

Addressing global challenges such as climate change, food scarcity, aging populations, and the need for medical research, the Netherlands and the European Union recognise the pivotal role of scientific collaboration. Existing cooperation between the Netherlands and China encompasses various areas, with China contributing advancements in healthcare technology and the Netherlands providing expertise in agriculture, water management, and health.

Minister Micky Adriaansens, in a LinkedIn post dated September 27, 2023, highlighted the Dutch approach to maintaining an open attitude towards knowledge and innovation.

An open attitude has always brought success to the Netherlands in terms of knowledge and innovation. However, we are not naive in this approach. One goal is to reduce and prevent unwanted dependencies, such as those on raw materials. We have legislation and financing instruments in place that protect technology, knowledge, and innovation of strategic importance from undesirable influence. Nevertheless, we do aim to continue collaborating with other countries when it comes to common knowledge and new ideas. China is a crucial business partner for us, and we want to work together on topics like the circular economy and climate.

The signing of the MoU represents a diplomatic and tangible commitment to advancing collaborative efforts. The renewed MoU, building on the 2011 agreement, reinforces diplomatic ties and addresses opportunities and risks for secure collaboration with China. This positive development extends beyond the Netherlands, with other EU countries and the United States also renewing their MoUs with China.

Acknowledging potential risks, the Netherlands emphasises a commitment to structuring collaborations sustainably and securely. The MoU outlines fundamental conditions, emphasising the autonomy of research institutions and ethical research principles, including safeguarding the health, safety, and privacy of research participants, citizens, and consumers.

Additionally, the renewed agreement establishes a consultation structure between the Ministries of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) and Economic Affairs and Climate Policy (EZK) with China. This strategic platform ensures ongoing discussions, addressing both opportunities and potential concerns and risks.

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