Jun 21, 2022
The British Embassy Beijing on behalf of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office commissioned RAND Europe to conduct an independent and evidence-based study into UK academics' research engagement with China. The study seeks to improve the UK government and wider understanding of how and why UK academics engage with China on joint research activities and better understand how UK research organisations manage any resulting risks.
Research collaboration with China and Chinese partners has always been complex for UK academics because of several barriers to entry including language, cultural and regulatory gaps.
On top of these core difficulties, heightened national security concerns about potential transfer of dual-use technology and intellectual property theft through academic collaboration with Chinese partners are today rising to the fore and making research engagement with China even more challenging, if not uncertain as some political and industry figures call for the UK to disengage with China.
Yet, UK-China joint research partnerships also bring significant economic, social and scientific benefits to the UK, China and beyond, making decoupling difficult.
In this context, how can the UK government and academics navigate the complexities of research collaboration with Chinese partners and protect the UK interests?
Once again, knowledge and evidence are key to inform policy decisions. Any decision on research engagement with China requires first and foremost an accurate reading of both its potential risks and rewards.
To that aim, RAND Europe conducted an independent and evidence-based study into the opportunities and challenges of UK academics' research engagement with China, rich in qualitative insights gained from interviewing and surveying 80+ practitioners. This study was prepared for the British Embassy Beijing, on behalf of the wider Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).
Exploring the breadth and depth of research collaboration between the UK and China
Understanding the drivers and benefits of UK-China research collaboration: a UK perspective
Understanding the challenges and risks of UK-China research collaboration: a UK perspective
Managing challenges and risks stemming from UK-China research engagements