R&D Cooperation between European companies and universities in China

‘R&D Cooperation between European companies and Universities in China’, that was the title of a fully booked workshop organized this morning by the European Chamber R&D Forum in Shanghai.

The speakers presented an interesting mix of research on R&D cooperation and actual examples of past and on-going projects between multinational companies and Chinese universities.

Dr. Ulrike Tagscherer, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI), presented her research findings on the key drivers, key co-operation models, and key success factors of academic collaborations of multi-national enterprises. Communication and clear goals were the top-2 most important key succes factor according to the people she had interviewed for her research. Patents were less of an issue, or at least not for the projects that the MNCs started with their counterparts (because there might have been some preselection on the research topics). Most of the time IP is shared and/or companies get the freedom to use the outcomes of the research at no cost.

Dr. Mason Wang, Director Open Innovation at Unilever Shanghai, explained the audience how Unilever approached open innovation with Chinese academia. Not only had Unilever managed to tap into the knowledge of Chinese researchers, but many of the researcher got so engaged that they ended up working for Unilever. For Unilever open innovation is important to increase the input of the R&D pipeline. Therefore Mason was happy to tell that open innovation projects also lead to products that are being put into the market.

Mr. Floryan de Campo was the final speaker at the workshop. Floryan is Director of Shanghai Joint international lab on Eco-Efficient product and Processes. That lab is a partnership of Solvay, ECNU, Fudan, CNRS, ENS Lyon & Lilles University. In 3 years time they managed to build a team of about 20~25 researchers that produce per year about 10~15 patents and a similar amount of papers.

Interestingly all presenters had the feeling that money was not the reason for Chinese professors to get engaged in joint industry-academia projects. The Chinese government provides plenty of funding. It is more important to find those professors who want to work on something more than just papers, and preferably also more than just patents. You have to find those people who want to see their research really applied in real life.


Read the workshop announcement here: EUCCC

Think Asia, Think Hong Kong

Hong Kong Science Park (Photo by Andy Wong

Hong Kong Science Park (Photo by Andy Wong

Think Asia, Think Hong Kong. That’s the title of two seminars organised by the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTPC) and the Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce in the Netherlands. The seminars, to be held in Zoetermeer (3 March) and Enschede (5 March) are part of a promotion tour of the HKSTPC and aim to show how Hong Kong, and the Science Park in particular can serve as a platform for high tech startups and enterprises to grow their business in Asia.

Presentations will be given by:

Mr. Allen Ma, CEO Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation,
Mr. Simon Galpin (Zoetermeer), Director-General of Investment Promotion, Invest Hong Kong,
Mr. Siegfried Verstappen (Enschede), Senior Investment Promotion Executive, Invest Hong Kong,
Mr. Andrew Young, Vice President, Marketing & Sales, Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation,
Mrs. Kristina Koehler-Coluccia, Director Klako Group and
Mr. Jacques Theunissen, Senior Director Automotive & Industrial BU, Dialog Semiconductor B.V.

For more information please have a look at the website of the Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce in the Netherlands.

Independently, NOST-China has done an extensive study into the opportunities and facilities for scientific and technological collaboration with/in Hong Kong. The results will be published shortly, so keep an eye on this newsfeed.

Great Tunnel of China

China is planning another engineering wonder; it has drafted a plan for a 123km undersea tunnel with an estimated cost of 220 billion yuan (EUR 26.5 billion). The underwater tunnel will surpass the combined length of the current world’s two longest underwater tunnels: Japan’s Seikan Tunnel and the Channel Tunnel between Britain and France.

The tunnel will house a rail line connecting the port cities of Dalian in Liaoning province and Yantai in Shandong province.


Dalian – Yantai undersea tunnel. Source:

“Once approved, work could begin as early as 2015 or 2016,” according to Wang Mengshu, a tunnel and railway expert at the Chinese Academy of Engineering who has worked on the plan since 2012.

The tunnel and its construction is not without risks. Complicated geologic structures may pose challenges in the construction, especially with two major fault zones in the region.

Read more: China Daily

China announces 10 billion yuan fund to curb air pollution

On Wednesday China’s central government announced a number of measures in the battle against air pollution. They also identified large cities and regions with the most frequent smog and haze.

A special fund of 10 billion yuan (EUR 1.2 billion) will be set up this year by the central government. The money will be used to reward efforts to curb air pollution in the key areas.


China Daily: Fight Air Pollution

Mentioned measures include promoting cleaner coal with low sulfur content and curbing coal consumption. The State Council also pledged nationwide implementation of Phase 4 of the diesel fuel standard — which means that fuel must contain less than 50 micrograms of sulfur per gram — by the end of this year.

Read more: ChinaDaily

Dutch gene therapy company uniQure went IPO

The Dutch VC firm Forbion Capital Partners, investing in world-class healthcare technologies, announced that its portfolio company uniQure has closed its initial public offering (IPO) at a price of $17.00 per share. uniQure’s shares are listed on the NASDAQ Global Select Market and began trading under the symbol “QURE“.

Last year Sander van Deventer, partner at Forbion, was one of our speakers at Dutch Innovators in Science & Technology 2013 (DIST 2013) here in Shanghai. During his talk he explained the audience what and how gene therapy can do to combat several rare but severe diseases.


Glybera, one of uniQure’s gene therapies. Photo:

uniQure is a leader in the field of gene therapy and has developed the first and currently the only gene therapy product to receive regulatory approval in the European Union. uniQure is developing a pipeline of additional gene therapies.

Read more: uniQure press release