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Scientific Discovery Needs Cooperation not Isolation

Source: Science and Technology Daily | 2022-09-29 10:12:41 | Author: Edited by Qi Liming

Mark Reid (left) and Zheng Xingwu (right), whose work revealed the structure of the Milky Way. (PHOTO: NANJING UNIVERSITY)

Edited by Qi Liming

At the World Economic Forum in February, Alessandro Curioni, director of IBM Research Europe, said that collaboration has long been key to scientific discovery and innovation, in both academia and industry. His views are widely shared by those in the science fraternity.

Science devoting to a community with a shared future

Science is a global language and endeavor and not owned by any one culture or society, and the values of equity and inclusiveness are key to the modern science system, according to Peter Gluckman, president of the International Science Council in August.

"As we face a more fractured geopolitical framework, science must work hard to build and maintain the global framework. Science can be an important and alternative track to try and repair some of these fractures as it did in the cold war. Science is at the heart of moving ahead on the global challenges that affect us all," said Gluckman.

Jerzy M Langer, President of the Warsaw Scientific Society, said at the meeting of China-Poland frontier science and technology cooperation on September 20, that science-based innovation is the best way for humankind to develop.

Langer said that as a deep partner of China-CEEC (Central and Eastern European Countries) Innovation Cooperation Research Center, the Warsaw Scientific Society of Poland is willing to work with Chinese colleagues on common goals to make people's lives better.

China-U.S. collaboration bringing strength in science projects

According to an article published in Nature recently, collaborative research between China and the U.S. has remained resilient. Such joint efforts are not only important for accelerating scientific advances, but for strengthening ties between the two nations.

In the Nature Index, which tracks output in 82 selected natural-sciences journals, China and the U.S. are each other's most important collaborative partners. Between 2015 and 2020, the number of papers co-authored by China and the U.S. leapt from 3,412 to 5,213, more than any other country pairing in the Index.

Duke University's Senior Adviser to the President for China Affairs, Dr. Denis Simon, argued that China-U.S. cooperation is key to tackling global problems. "There is no S&T related global problem, such as climate change, clean energy, clean environment, food safety, etc. whose meaningful solution will not depend on some form of close U.S.-China cooperation," he said.

According to Center for International & Global Studies of Duke University, as Chinese influence in science and technology continues to expand across the globe, it inevitably is going to become a key player in the rules-making apparatus in international and regional S&T affairs. The U.S. and other countries, rather than simply forging a so-called "anti-China alliance", need to find a better way to tap into China's enhanced capabilities as part of a long-term collaborative consortium aimed at solving the world's most pressing issues.

Scientists and institutions calling for more inclusive coordination

Tommy Shih, associate professor in business administration at Lund University, said that the United Nations and many researchers have emphasized the critical role international collaborative science plays in solving global challenges like climate change, biodiversity loss and pandemics. The rise of non-Western countries as science powers is helping to drive this type of global cooperative research.

However, in the past few years, the U.S. decoupling policies have contributed to nations' behaving in more distrustful and insular ways overall. One result is that it is becoming increasingly difficult for researchers to collaborate with scholars in other nations.

According to the Conversation, a unique not-for-profit media outlets between academics and journalists that publishes research based news and analysis, many researchers in the U.S., Europe and China have voiced concerns that geopolitical rivalries are curtailing international research collaboration at a time when the world needs it the most.

There is a major risk that the impediments to international scientific collaboration will further increase, which will harm data sharing, the quality of research and the ability to disseminate results that contribute to solving problems.

A large number of researchers, university leaders and funding agencies in Europe, the U.S. and China have vented their frustration with the current situation. Many in the research community would like to see a more open and global science landscape.

Editor: 汤哲枭

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