Jo Johnson, the UK’s Minister for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, has visited the site of the new Oxford Suzhou Centre for Advanced Research (OSCAR) as part of his trip to China.
Mr Johnson was in China to celebrate the country’s £200m research and innovation partnership with the UK and took time to visit the Suzhou Industrial Park, where OSCAR will be located.
OSCAR will focus on research challenges and technologies that complement the centre’s location in China and which will capitalise on current Oxford research strengths. Initial clusters will be in biomedical research, environmental science (including remediation technologies), and advanced functional materials (including display technologies).
Oxford’s presence in Suzhou will also strengthen the University’s engagement with Chinese collaborators under the auspices of the Global Challenges Research Fund, a £1.5bn UK government fund to support cutting-edge research that addresses the challenges faced by developing countries.
Professor Donal Bradley, Head of the Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Division and Professor of Engineering Science and Physics at the University of Oxford, said: ‘This is a wonderful moment for Oxford science and engineering as we embark on the creation of our first overseas research centre. We very much look forward to working closely with the Suzhou Industrial Park and our academic and industrial collaborators in Jiangsu province and elsewhere in China to progress a range of exciting societal and economic development opportunities.
‘Our ambition is that OSCAR will become a paradigm of scientific excellence focused on global challenges – an ambition that will be greatly assisted by our location in Suzhou.’
During his visit to Suzhou, Mr Johnson celebrated the deep relationship in research and education collaboration between the UK and Jiangsu province, and delivered a speech to Chinese students highlighting the UK’s commitment to international engagement and excellence in innovation.
He also announced that the UK’s research and innovation partnership with China, known as the Newton Fund, has committed £200m across 37 joint programmes and supported over 220 partnerships since 2014.
Mr Johnson said: ‘The future of science depends on collaboration and sharing expertise, and China is an important science partner for the UK. Through the Newton Fund, we’re working together on areas such as sustainable agriculture and smart cities to improve the lives of millions across the globe. The success of the Newton Fund and our exciting partnership demonstrates that our science and innovation relationship is going from strength to strength.’