Horizon 2020 launched with €15 billion over first two years

Horizon2020The European Commission recently announced the first calls for proposals under Horizon 2020, the European Union’s €80 billion research and innovation programme. Worth more than €15 billion over the first two years, the funding is intended to help boost Europe’s knowledge-driven economy, and tackle global issues that will make a difference in people’s lives.

This includes 12 focus areas in 2014/2015, including topics such as personalised healthcare, digital security and smart cities.

The budget in 2014 is worth around €7.8 billion, with funding focused on the three key pillars of Horizon 2020:

  • Excellent Science: Around €3 billion, including €1.7 billion for grants from the European Research Council for top scientists and €800 million for Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowships for younger researchers.
  • Industrial Leadership: €1.8 billion to support Europe’s industrial leadership in areas like ICT, nanotechnologies, advanced manufacturing, robotics, biotechnologies and space.
  • Societal challenges: €2.8 billion for innovative projects addressing Horizon 2020’s seven societal challenges, broadly: health; agriculture, maritime and bioeconomy; energy; transport; climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials; reflective societies; and security.

Horizon 2020 is fully open to international participation in all fields and areas. Chinese researchers, enterprise and institutions are strongly encouraged to team up with European partners to make use of this opportunity in research and innovation. In addition, in the 2014 calls several topics are flagged for cooperation with China, for instance in the field of Food, Agriculture and Biotechnology, Information and Communications Technologies, and Energy.

For background and more information, please see:

MEMO/13/1085: Horizon 2020 – the EU’s new research and innovation programme

Horizon 2020 website

Participant portal

China Elected 104 New Academicians in 2013

On 19th December 2013, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE) announced names of their newly elected Academicians, the highest academic honor in the field of science and technology in China. 53 out of 391 nominated candidates are elected as CAS Academicians this time, expanding the CAS membership to 750. CAE elected 51 out of 560, which made its total number of Academicians 807.

In addition, CAS elected 9 new foreign Academicians from the USA, France, Denmark, Israel, Brazil and India, including Israeli Nobel Prize winner Aaron Ciechanover. CAE also elected 6 foreign members from the USA, Australia and Denmark.

Read more about this news at CAS website and CAE website.

Deadline CSC Scholarships for Senior and Visiting Scholars (including Postdocs) in January 2014

20121220135132237The deadline for application for the 2014 Chinese Government Scholarships Programme administered by the China Scholarship Council (CSC) is approaching in January 2014. Besides 7000 PhD scholarships, CSC will also sponsor 200 senior scholars and 2600 visiting scholars (including postdocs) from China for research training abroad in 2014.

The duration of the scholarship for Postdocs may vary between 3 to maximum 24 months. Applicants must have a doctoral degree and not exceed the age limit of 40. The scholarship holders are mainly dispatched to foreign institutions by Chinese universities or under the agreement between CSC and foreign educational and scientific research institutions.

The deadline for applications by Chinese applicants to be sent to the home universities is January 15th. Applicants also need to register on the CSC website between January 5th and 15th. Applicants are required to include an invitation letter from their foreign host universities or research institutions in their application. For more information, please consult the official requirements of the programme in Chinese or request the English translation from NOST Beijing.

China lands rover on the moon

On Saturday December 14th, 21:12 Beijing time, China succeeded in landing Chang’e 3, its lunar lander and carrier of the Yutu robotic rover, on the moon. It is a first-ever for China and the first soft-landing on the lunar surface since the former Soviet Union’s Luna 24 in 1976. Having successfully separated from its carrier, Yutu is currently driving on the lunar surface.

yutu_on-moon
The Yutu rover, as seen by the Chang’e 3 lander after landing and deploying the rover. (Credits: CCTV)

The 140 kg rover is a six-wheel robot outfitted with navigation and panoramic cameras. While solar-powered, it is designed to hibernate at night and survive three ultra-cold lunar nights, i.e. three Earth months. It carries a robotic arm with an Alpha-Proton X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) as well as a belly-mounted radar to study the moon surface and below. The lander came down in Mare Imbrium, which geologically speaking is an interesting spot as it is very close to the boundary between high-titanium and low-titanium basaltic lava flows. The rover should be able to explore the nature of this boundary during its three month mission. During its mission, Yutu will explore a three square kilometer area, travelling a maximum distance of 10 km from the landing point. Chang’e 3 is also carrier a combination of scientific instruments and carriers as payload.

This mission is part of a highly ambitious space program that also includes manned spaceflight. In the moon exploration program, the current mission was preceded by lunar orbiters Chang’e-1 and 2. The next phase will comprise a sample return mission, to be followed by the final phase: a manned mission to the moon.

NOST has written up (in Dutch only, unfortunately) an overview of China’s space program that can be downloaded here.

More coverage on the mission can be found here.

NANC AGE 2013: “A Holland Alumni Family Gathering Evening”

The Netherlands Alumni Network China (NANC) held its Annual General Event (AGE) successfully on Saturday, 7, December, 2013 at Beijing Hilton Wangfujing Hotel.
alumni meetingThe NANC Annual General Event (AGE) aims at getting Chinese and Dutch alumni together by the end of the year to recall the cheerful and memorable times when they were in the Netherlands for their study, and to invite and encourage them to become ‘Holland image ambassador’. More than 170 people attended the event. Participants are NANC alumni and members, representatives from the Dutch Embassy, NBTC and BenCham, Dutch universities representatives and NANC business contacts.

The event was kicked off by Ms. Maggie Tan, the NANC Alumni Officer in Neso China. Mr. Jan Reit Smit, Counsellor for Science and Technology from the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, gave a welcome speech to the participants of this event, and emphasized the importance of alumni network in China and its important positive influence on Dutch higher education promotion and ultimately increase the Sino-Dutch relations.

There was a special session called the “Awarding Ceremony of Best Testimonial Award of the year 2013” at this NANC AGE 2013. That is the awarding ceremony to show the results from the “Alumni Testimonial Competition” which we carried out for the past 2 months. NANC gave out the rewards to winners (with three ranking prizes) to encourage more alumni to share their Study in Holland stories with NANC and to show the benefits that they obtained from their SiH experience for their current professional and personal life.