There is extensive collaboration between China and Europe in the environmental protection sector. The relationship had initially focused on trade, but has since embraced action on climate change as well as energy and environmental security. The objective of the EU-funded POREEN (Partnering opportunities between Europe and China in the renewable energies and environmental industries) research network project was to better analyse the relationship from a variety of perspectives. The research examined the level of economic cooperation reached to date and the potential for boosting cooperation. The project integrated scholars from economics, law and engineering focusing on renewable energy and environmental industries. The objective was to enhance knowledge in their fields as well as benefiting from synergies created by integrating approaches across disciplines. For the economics angle, the team analysed flows of trade flows and direct investment between China and Europe to detail difficulties and obstacles. They also highlighted key factors for stimulating further flows and provided policy recommendations for action in the EU and China. The project’s legal researchers focused on offshore oil and gas extraction, renewable energies, corporate social responsibility and environmental legislation. They analysed the legal framework of EU-China cooperation, including in the light of broader global objectives such as tackling climate change and ensuring sustainable development. Research topics included Chinese environmental protection, as well as standards for the protection of labour and the environment. Engineering research addressed energy efficiency and carbon dioxide reduction. Work in the transport sector focused on use of methane fuels for transportation, while in the built environment they focused on low-carbon buildings, the use of heat pumps and district cooling/heating networks. POREEN supported the creation of knowledge networks. The mobility scheme, involving extensive secondments in both directions, helped establish research cooperation, but also identified opportunities for teaching cooperation. The exchanges also included numerous meetings, conferences and other outreach events. The work produced several research articles in peer-reviewed journals, a special, interdisciplinary issue of the International Journal of Ambient Energy, books and book chapters. POREEN’s legacy has been much strengthened research networks, as well as closer ties between its researchers and several businesses working in renewable energy. Such ties should ensure improved capacity and research outcomes for its participants in the future.
China, engineering, environmental protection, POREEN, renewable energy