British fund will lure Chinese researchers
The British government has set up a 100 million pound ($130.6 million) research fund to attract global talent, with China identified as one of the key recruitment pools.
The Ernest Rutherford Fund, which takes its name from the nuclear physicist and Nobel laureate, was established by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy as part of the government’s 1 billion pound industrial strategy laid out in April.
“At the 2016 autumn statement, the government announced a significant increase in public research and development spending, totaling 4.7 billion pounds,” said Jo Johnson, the UK’s universities and science minister. “In her vision for the UK as the go-to place for scientists, innovators and tech investors, Prime Minister (Theresa) May has made clear she wants us to be a country that attracts the brightest and best minds.”
Johnson said the fund will be used to attract “highly skilled” early-career, and senior researchers. The government has identified “emerging research powerhouses”, including China, India, Brazil, and Mexico, as key recruitment pools.
The UK publishes 16 per- cent of the world’s most heavily cited papers, despite having only 1 percent of the world’s population and 3 percent of global funding for such research papers. Almost half of research articles published by British researchers have international co-authors.
The fund is being administered by Innovate UK and Research Councils UK until a new body, UK Research and Investment, is formed in 2018.
“We see the Rutherford Fund as an excellent opportunity to further help early-career as well as senior researchers in China to establish and solidify their professional and personal connections in the UK,” said Grace Lang, director of Research Councils UK China. “China’s share of global science and engineering publications is increasing. We hope researchers in China will benefit from this funding opportunity to gain international experience and more researcher-to-researcher links can be formed, contributing to a well-connected international research and innovation community.”
Since the research council’s China office was set up in Beijing in 2007, it has co-funded 222 million pounds of joint programs with several Chinese funding agencies, covering a range of research areas.