Recently NOST China published a research report on joint research structures (joint centres, institutes or labs) in China following the research project ‘Sino-Dutch Joint Research Structures in China’, which was carried out by a Dutch intern from Leiden University. The aim of the project was to analyze the experiences with establishing joint research centres and labs in China.
In total 11 Sino-Dutch research structures in China have been identified. According to the research report, most of the Sino-Dutch institutes were established in cooperation with Chinese universities and the remaining with institutes from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS). The majority of the institutes is located in Beijing and working on research and education in the field of social, medical and technical sciences. TU Delft has now opened 4 research centres in China in the fields of Solid State Lighting (Beijing), Geo-information, Geodesy & Remote Sensing (Wuhan), Water (Nanjing), and Urban Systems & Environment (Guangzhou). This constitutes almost a third of all Dutch research structures in China.
The main benefits to open a joint research centre or lab in China is to obtain structural access to relevant data, research funding, modern research facilities and talents in China. A recent EU-China Joint Research Laboratories Workshop which was organized in November 2012 by the EU delegation and the EU Embassies in Beijing, provided the opportunity to exchange views and experiences with joint labs and stakeholders on good practices and difficulties encountered by joint labs.
The EU workshop also revealed, however, that most EU-China joint labs do not have a legal status. A formal legal status in China offers advantages when applying for visa and research funding in China. It was also recommended to sign an agreement between the European and Chinese partner.