RCUK Office in China Newsletter---20 December 2010

发布时间: 2010-12-20      访问次数: 121

We wish all our readers a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Funding Opportunities and Awards 
·       BBSRC International Scientific Interchange Scheme (ISIS)  (apply at anytime at least 6 weeks before travel)

S&T News: UK and China
Concentrate… big six take larger income slice
The concentration of research council grant funding on the largest research-intensive universities increased significantly last year, according to an analysis by the Times Higher Education Supplement (THES). Excluding data for STFC, the top six universities by research income - Imperial College London, University College London and the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Manchester and Edinburgh - grew their share of RCUK grant income from 34.5 per cent in 2008-09 to 39.6 per cent in 2009-10. This THES table ranks universities based on the awards won from all seven research councils.
Meanwhile, measures by the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to manage demand for its grants are boosting success rates. In 2008-09 only 26 percent of applications received awards, but this figure rose to 30 percent in 2009-10. The measures led to a one-third drop in the number of applications received. But overall success rates across RCUK continued at a historically low level of just 23 percent, down from just over 30 percent in 2006-07. The other research councils are considering possible demand management measures.
The Royal Society has published a series of articles, collectively called Science Sees Further, on some of the most exciting areas of science today, including new vaccines, stem cell biology, the ageing process, and cognition and computation. All authors are experts in their fields, and the articles have been reviewed by an independent committee to ensure the science is accurately represented and that a clear and balanced perspective has been given.
China initiated new ‘Young Thousand Talent Programme’
After launching its ‘Thousand Talents Programme (10-year)’ in late 2008, China released the ‘Young thousand Talents Programme’ in early December 2010 with an application deadline on 8 January 2011.
Funding: 500,000 RMB one-off subsidy for each talent followed by additional 1-3 million RMB research grants subject to research proposals. Applicants must be supported by China’s Ministry of Education or MOST. Interested applicants should contact their intended Chinese host organisations for advice on applying.
The ‘Thousand Talent Programme’ also released its 6th call with a deadline on 20 December 2010. This programme aims to attract leading overseas researchers with PhD degrees, including Chinese and foreign nationals, under 55 years old. Each recipient will receive 1 million RMB one-off subsidy and other packages in China.
These opportunities show China’s efforts to attract overseas talents to help China make breakthroughs in emerging research areas and overcome industrial development bottlenecks.
News from the Research Councils UK
BBSRC researchers have published a series of papers in Science magazine highlighting their successful work to sequence the genomes of a range of microbes that cause important plant diseases. This research will contribute to food security by creating opportunities to enhance our knowledge of plant disease resistance, as well as uncovering potential new targets for better control of these microbes.
UK National Stem Cell Network fourth annual stem cell conference
The 2011 conference will be held at the University of York, 30 March to 1 April. It will continue to showcase the latest and best developments in UK stem cell and regenerative medicine research, with a number of world-class speakers from overseas.
Food security challenges and opportunities for animal science
This conference on 4-6 April 2011 will develop food security strategies to which industry can respond as well as to identify future priorities for agricultural research and development that impact on food security issues. It will thus be relevant to commercial and research scientists, those working in the agricultural and food industry, advisors, vets, lead farmers and policymakers.
Engineers have developed a new type of microchip muscle stimulator implant that will enable people with paraplegia to exercise their paralysed leg muscles. It is the first time that researchers have developed a device small enough to be implanted into the spinal canal and incorporating the electrodes and muscle stimulator in one unit. The implant is the size of a child's fingernail. This EPSRC project is led by Professor Andreas Demosthenous from University College London, and includes engineers from Freiburg University, Germany and the Tyndall Institute in Cork, Ireland.
A study by the RCUK New Dynamics of Ageing Programme examines the relationship between successful ageing and mobility patterns. While maintaining mobility plays a significant part in healthy ageing, a new study highlights a high degree of inactivity even among an ‘elite’ sample of fit and healthy older people aged between 72 and 92 years.
On 10 November ESRC launched the findings of a major review of the UK tax system led by Nobel laureate Sir James Mirrlees. The review includes a book of specially-commissioned papers on Tax Design, and a second volume setting out the characteristics of a good tax system and assessing how far the UK system conforms to that ideal. Both volumes are available for free download.
The new £1 million centre grant is in addition to £12 million of research programme grants recently awarded by the MRC to leading reproductive health scientists in Edinburgh. The centre will host these major groups as well as a training programme for aspiring reproductive scientists.
ESPA Directorate publishes two new documents to support applicants to the programme
The ESPA Knowledge Strategy and Research Framework provides a starting point to conceptualise ESPA’s research. The ESPA Impact Framework provides an introduction to impact for ESPA researchers, to help them design and implement their Pathways to (Development) Impact, a critical component of a successful ESPA project. Both documents are available in the ESPA Documents section of the website. Intending applicants register here for future information.
NERC establishes Knowledge Exchange programmes
Much NERC-funded research has potential to deliver benefits for policy, business and society. NERC has launched its Knowledge Exchange programme to accelerate the uptake of research and help inform future science directions.
STFC funding has helped to develop the most energy efficient super-computer in the world. The Blue Gene super-computer has been named top of the latest ‘Super-computing Green500 List’.
More efficient oil extraction made possible at ISIS
A research team led by the University of Bristol has used the STFC’s ISIS Neutron Source to come up with a new way to treat carbon dioxide (CO2), so that it can be used in efficient and environmentally friendly methods for extracting oil. These new CO2 soluble additives can also be used to reduce the environmental damage caused by everyday industrial processes such as food processing and the manufacture of electronics.
In late October the STFC’s governing Council accepted recommendations of an expert review of its mechanisms for funding the exploitation of facilities and experiments in particle physics, astronomy, space and nuclear physics (including associated theoretical activity) in universities and other research groups. The review recommended replacing various current grant schemes with a single consolidated scheme.  
RCUK China Office Activities
RCUK China Office Holiday Arrangements in December 2010 - January 2011
Please note our working days/closed days during the coming Christmas and New Year holidays:
               Office closed for holiday                              Working Day
December 20
January 1
Back to normal
22 - 26 November 2010 ESPA Director’s China visit
Professor Paul van Gardingen, Director of the Ecosystem Services & Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) programme, visited China for meetings and discussions with leading Chinese researchers on ecosystem services. The RCUK China Office organised the visit programme, which included CAS headquarters and Institute of Geographic Sciences & Natural Resources, the Ministry of Environmental Protection, and the Administrative Centre for China’s Agenda 21. The Office organised a round table meeting in Beijing with Chinese researchers from leading research institutes to exchange ideas regarding ecosystem services and poverty alleviation. The Science & Innovation Network at the British Consulate-General Chongqing helped to organise a similar round table in Kunming. A field visit to Xishuangbanna was hosted by CAS Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden.
ESPA is open to applicants from anywhere in the world, including China. The current call closes on 19 January 2011, but intending applicants had to submit expressions of interest by 8 December 2010.
1 – 3 December 2011 Workshop on Application of Imaging Science to the Interdisciplinary Study of Wall Paintings along the Silk Road
The workshop was funded by RCUK China and co-organised by Nottingham Trent University and ShaanXi History Museum. The application of science to heritage is important to both countries given the sheer number of heritage sites. The Silk Road from Xi’an to the Mediterranean has been nominated for inclusion on UNESCO’s world heritage list, and a large part of the route with cave temples lies within China. Developments in biomedical imaging, remote sensing and astrophysics are constantly producing new imaging techniques that are non-invasive and so are ideal for the examination of wall paintings. The UK partner group has applied imaging techniques such as optical coherence tomography to image the subsurface paint layers non-invasively, and remote hyper-spectral imaging to identify paint material on ceilings remotely from ground level. The interdisciplinary workshop attracted academics from physics, engineering, statistics, archaeology, art history and heritage organisations. It helped to strengthen links between heritage organisations, academia and industry in both countries.
6 - 8 December 2010 ESRC Chief Executive’s China visit
The newly-appointed ESRC Chief Executive, Professor Paul Boyle, visited Beijing during 6-8 December on a RCUK China-organised programme. Prof. Boyle is also the International Champion for RCUK. He visited the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (report in Chinese), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (picture and report in Chinese) and the China Data Centre in Tsinghua University. He also had a round table meeting with Chinese researchers from various top universities in Beijing and the staff from the National Centre for Chronic & Noncommunicable Diseases, Chinese Centre for Disease Control & Prevention.
14-15 December 2010 Workshop on ‘Down The Drain’ Chemicals, Shanghai
This interdisciplinary workshop was jointly organised by the RCUK-funded Science Bridge on Water Availability & Quality and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and sponsored by the consumer products multinational Unilever. Discussion focused on the scientific and social-science issues involved in tackling China’s critical water pollution situation, and the best approaches to risk assessment in managing water quality and safety issues for human and ecological health.
Upcoming events:
10-12 January 2011 Beijing
Workshop on Metals in Organic Synthesis: Toward Cleaner, Greener Chemical Processes
11-12 January 2011 Beijing
Workshop on Mapping China’s Future Media Cultures: The Presentation of Digital 3-D Cinema in the World’s Biggest Market
17-21 January 2011 Nanjing& Shanghai
Visit by Director of MRC Mary Lyon Centre to explore collaboration between UK and China mouse labs.
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