Innovation across continents – new research collaborations in life science and energy

An ambitious project that aims to bring together the best life science and engineering research talent in Scotland and Hong Kong has taken a significant step forward.

A new £200,000 joint investment from the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) and the Research Funding Council of Hong Kong means that university researchers from both regions can now bid for funding to establish collaborative projects at the leading edge of areas such as medical technology, industrial biology, energy storage and renewables.

Alex_Salmond_(crop)The development comes less than a year after Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, witnessed the signing of an agreement in Hong Kong to explore how universities in the two regions could develop new ways of working together. It will be taken forward by Scotland’s university research pool in life sciences, the Scottish Life Sciences Association (SULSA) and the Scottish Energy Technology Partnership (ETP).

Welcoming the new scheme, Education Secretary Michael Russell said:

“I am delighted to see this additional support for new research collaborations in life sciences and engineering between Scotland and Hong Kong.

“This partnership recognises our world-class reputation for research and the global interest in working with Scottish universities that continues to grow encouraged by our innovative research pooling model.”

Professor Alice Brown, Chair of the Scottish Funding Council added:

“Within Scotland we’ve invested heavily in research collaboration through our pioneering research pools and through our new, £100 million programme of Scottish Innovation Centres. “This project is exciting because it supports international collaboration and will create significant, career-making opportunities for some of Scotland’s most talented researchers and doctoral students.”

Principal-1Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Chairman of the ETP, welcomed the initiative and said:

“The best academic institutions collaborate on the global stage, and the ETP – the largest energy research consortium in Europe – is no different as it comprises Scotland’s world-leading Universities teams in marine energy, wind power, electricity grids, energy storage and conversion and a raft of other key thematic groupings.

“Our developing research partnership with colleagues from the Hong Kong Universities will receive a welcome boost via the Scottish and Hong Kong funding councils’ scheme and accelerate high quality outcomes, increase impact from our joint research and enhance the international experience of our post graduates.”

Professor Andrew Hopkins, Director of SULSA said:

“We are delighted to see the launch of the Scottish Funding Council and Hong Kong Research Grants Council joint research scheme. This will be a unique opportunity for Scotland’s Life Scientists to collaborate with fellow researchers in Hong Kong, and pave the way for long term alliances that will deliver world-class research.

“Scotland and Hong Kong each have a track record of excellence in life sciences research, and exploiting this framework agreement will result in a programme of work that is more than the sum of its parts.”

University research in Scotland is recognised as being among the best in the world with Scotland ranked top of 27 comparable countries and regions for the impact of its research in relation to its GDP. Hong Kong invests heavily in top quality research and is one of Asia’s academic powerhouses.

Pictured are (r) Alex Salmond, MSP, First Minister and (l) Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Chairman of the Energy Technology Partnership

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