Innovation, Education, Research & Development

20 June 2007

Is China innovating? What does the answer to that question mean for the UK? Can foreign companies successfully undertake R&D in China? Does Chinese education pose challenges to the UK, and if so what are they?

The subject of education and research looms large in UK–China relations, in three main ways.

First, the number of Chinese students studying at UK universities and colleges has multiplied. In 1998/9 there were about 3000 Chinese students in UK tertiary education. According to the Higher Education Statistics Agency of Britain, 47,740 students from the Chinese mainland studied in more than 100 British universities in 2003/4, accounting for nearly one sixth of the overseas students in Britain. Chinese mainland students spend more than $3 billion on UK tertiary education every year.

Will the UK continue to be an important educational location for Chinese students? What adaptations will be necessary to maintain the UK’s attractiveness?

Second, UK universities, research institutions and R&D-orientated research businesses are increasingly setting up shop in China. Is this a long term trend or a short term dash?

Third, and underpinning these other two factors, there are the interconnected issues of technical advancement in China and the so-called ‘hollowing out’ of UK manufacturing industries and technologies. UK government policy expressly welcomes the industrial & commercial opportunities offered by economic relations with China. It is often said that as China advances technologically, not just in manufacturing output, the UK will advance too.

However, one key but controversial question is whether UK education and research policy is commensurate with the UK government’s assumptions. Is it true that UK technology and research will advance fast enough? What will happen to the millions in the UK who work in lower-tech sectors, or have lower-tech skills? Are education outcomes for these sections of society compatible with the UK’s specific approach towards economic relations with China?

This fifth and final meeting in the series of Westminster Hearings on China’s economic development and the UK, will attempt to address such difficult questions, and raise issues and opinions helpful to both the Chinese Government’s approach and UK policy.

Issues such as innovation, education & employment, manufacturing & industrial policy, and collaboration opportunities, will be explored in depth at this 20th June meeting.

Paul Reynolds

Speakers Biographies for the Hearings on 20 June 2007

In order of appearance in the programme (download it)

Ben Chapman MP

The Rt Hon Alan Johnson MP

Liu Mingkang

Stephen Perry

Hu Shuli

Sir William Ehrman KCMG

Prof. Geoffrey E. Petts

Dr. Hu, Zhengrong

Sally Feldman

David Kester

Will Hutton

John Frieslaar

Lord Powell of Bayswater

Dr Christopher Cullen

Dr Stephen Minger

Dr Geoffrey Copland

Sir David King

Caroline Quest

Prof. Hugo de Burgh


Full text: 20_June_Program.pdf

Scientific Collaboration with China – A Personal Experience and View

Full text: Xiadong_Chen_200607.ppt


Full text: 20070620_Westminster_Hearings_-William_Ehrman.doc

Helping Develop Economic Relations between China and the UK through Early Stage Technology Commercialization

Full text: ICUK-Westminster_Hearing-Caroline_Quest.ppt

Changing Chinese Education and Collaboration between Chinese and UK Educational Institutions

Full text: UK_hearings_-_Hu_Zhengrong_07-6-20.ppt

China going up the value chain

Full text: CHINA_-_20_June_07_David_Kester.ppt

Westminster Consultation on China

Full text: Westminster_Consultation_on_China_v.2,_Davdi_King_20_June_2007.ppt

The China Impact’ Workshop:The Ascent of China’s DCM

Full text: ChinaWestminsterApr07_Francesco_Garzarelli.ppt