Publication - Strategy/plan

Working with China: five-year engagement strategy

Published: 4 Dec 2012
External Affairs Directorate
Part of:
Economy, International

High-level strategy setting out the Scottish Government’s ambitions in developing Scotland’s relationship with China over the next five years.

18 page PDF

210.8 kB

18 page PDF

210.8 kB

Working with China: five-year engagement strategy
Priority Area 3

18 page PDF

210.8 kB

Priority Area 3

To increase collaboration in research and development between China and Scotland.


  • Target 3.1: Increase the percentage of internationally co-authored papers between Scottish and Chinese researchers from the 4.75% baseline of 2008.


  • Focus and invest in excellence while targeting financial and promotional support to selected areas where Scotland is world-leading to distinguish it from the rest of UK.
  • Encourage and support our universities and further education institutions to develop more long term, sustainable partnerships in China.
  • Encourage more researcher exchanges at all levels to facilitate an increase in flow of industry, enterprise, innovation and education between Scotland and China.
  • Develop a research framework with the Chinese Ministry of Science & Technology.
  • Support our research and development bodies to promote Scotland's expertise in the area of energy and low carbon and increase take-up of specialist training offered in this area by Scotland as well as increased knowledge exchange.


International collaboration is increasingly important in research and development to provide solutions to global problems and components for global markets. Scotland has some of the best research universities in the world producing publications with very high impact. The impact of research from China increases to above the world average when co-authored with Scottish researchers. Scotland also has some of the world's most innovative businesses. Innovation is a key theme in China's 12 th Five Year Plan and we will promote Scotland as a place where Chinese companies can partner with Scotland to our mutual benefit.

China is also investing heavily in Research & Innovation. Scotland's scientific research is of high quality and is the destination of choice for science researchers and students in key areas such as agriculture, aquaculture, animal and plant science, sensor systems, renewable energy, software development, pharmacology, gas & oil and health informatics.

Using these strengths we will continue to engage constructively with individual academics and institutions in China. The aim would be to promote and encourage recognition of the importance of academic freedoms in allowing research and scholarship to generate benefits for both Scottish and Chinese economies and wider society.

As China looks to increase its own research quality, Scotland can offer its expertise. One area of particular interest is in healthcare. The Scottish Government has set out a clear vision for the future of healthcare in Scotland. Our aim is to deliver the highest quality of healthcare to the people of Scotland, and to make care safe, effective and person-centred.

The Chinese Government also intends to implement a significant healthcare reform programme. The programme is wide ranging and will focus on: reforming public hospitals and building capacity in the healthcare system. The Chinese Government will also implement public health programmes such as disease control, surveillance, prevention, immunisation and focussed inspections of cervical and breast cancer.

Scotland has a thriving life sciences community with strengths in both our business and research base. Our excellence in areas such as medical technology, pharmaceutical services, clinical testing and regenerative, clinical and stratified medicine could help support China's healthcare reform objectives. In addition Scotland's expertise in linking patient data for research and strong capabilities in emerging markets such as digital health, especially in developing applications for remote diagnosis, treatment and management of chronically ill and elderly patients, could assist China's ambition to provide access to healthcare for its population, including those in rural areas.

In the area of renewable energy, Scotland and China face common challenges in relation to transforming our energy sectors. Energy security, reducing harmful carbon emissions and exploiting our vast natural resources for sustainable clean energy, such as offshore renewables, will increasingly rely on cutting edge technological innovations. Scottish research and development bodies have already established links with Chinese partners, such as through the work of the Energy Technology Partnership and Edinburgh Napier University's Bio-fuel Research Centre (links with Hong Kong Special Administrative Region). The Scottish Government will, through this strategy, support a strengthening of these links and the development of new ones with China as we build on our external cooperation agenda for growth in the global green economy.


Email: China Team Mailbox,

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road