CORDIS - EU research results
CORDIS

Scoping China’s Environmental Research Excellence and major Infrastructure: Foresight, Potentials, and Roadmaps

Final Report Summary - SPRING (Scoping China’s Environmental Research Excellence and major Infrastructure: Foresight, Potentials, and Roadmaps)

Executive Summary:
It is well known that China is facing tremendous challenges in terms of both known and potential environment problems. Water shortage and its uneven distribution in time and space seriously constrain China's aim for economic and social sustainable development. Sharp drop in mineral, oil and gas reserves highlighted the contradictions between supply and demand. Economic, political, diplomatic and other issues of national decision-making; ecosystem degradation has exacerbated the fragility of the environment, leading to increased frequency of flooding, formation of smog in cities, increase in pollution related health problems, and frequent water pollution incidents in rivers, lakes and coastal regions. At the same time, in the current uncertain economic climate, as the world look towards China’s financial prowess (with a huge manufacturing section and high national savings) as one of the main locomotive to pull the world out of recession, China's limited resources and fragile environment is facing unprecedented exploitation pressure. International communication and cooperation are urgently necessary to unravel these environment problems.

SPRING is specifically designed to investigate and devise ways to enhance international communication and cooperation and as a result, support EU-China environmental research cooperation. SPRING deployed three methods to achieve its aim, and they are:
(1) To identify excellent researchers, research groups, and infrastructure in China via excellence matrix scheme. By doing so, it is easier for EU researchers to locate partners in China for their future research collaboration;
(2) To identify potential areas of research collaboration. In doing so, we have taken a short-mid term view, as well as a long-term view of what topics are of interests to researchers from both regions, and what are the funding opportunities that would allow them to work together;
(3) To devise ways for EU and China researchers to communicate with each other in a more effective way. In doing so, we tapped onto the latest ICT innovations in email system to break the language/ communication barrier.

Project Context and Objectives:
It is well known that China is facing tremendously challenges in terms of both known and potential environment problems. Water shortage and its uneven distribution in time and space seriously constrain China's aim for economic and social sustainable development. Sharp drop in mineral, oil and gas reserves highlighted the contradictions between supply and demand. Economic, political, diplomatic and other issues of national decision-making; ecosystem degradation has exacerbated the fragility of the environment, leading to increased frequency of flooding, formation of smog in cities, increase in pollution related health problems, and frequent water pollution incidents in rivers, lakes and coastal regions. At the same time, in the current uncertain economic climate, as the world look towards China’s financial prowess (with a huge manufacturing section and high national savings) as one of the main locomotive to pull the world out of recession, China's limited resources and fragile environment is facing unprecedented exploitation pressure. International communication and cooperation are urgently necessary to unravel these environment problems.
Bilateral policies have become effective to support EU-China research cooperation. With the rectification of the EU-China Science and Technology agreement in 1994, and again in 2005, researchers from both ends of the Euro-Asia continent can now get together on equal footing to establish research projects aiming at sharing knowledge and information. And in a recent 2007 report by the EU Scientific counsellors in Beijing on “European Research Area Green paper”, it was noted that China relished the opportunity to engage with EU and be given the opportunity to debate and define common areas of strategic interest for EU’s S&T cooperation with China. It is with this background in mind that this project is conceived and formulation.
The objective of sustainability particularly necessitates looking at future evolutions, because it is intrinsically a dynamic concept, and to think to the future at a time scale longer than just one generation. It is therefore not a surprise that more and more environmental policies (the Water framework directive, the Marine Strategy, Clean Air Act, etc) prescribe to set long term future environmental objectives (good ecological status of waters by 2015 or 2021, Environmental quality goals for 2021 in Sweden…). Sustainability requests not only pre-activity (to anticipate future evolutions in order to be able to react in time) but also pro-activity, which means that we want to anticipate possible futures in order to be able to change them and to propose an alternative desired future. Therefore, research strategies aiming at supporting environmental policies need to be even more pro-active, helping us to shape innovative desirable futures. In order to facilitate better EU-China environmental research cooperation, there is a need to “create a long term environment research vision with clearly identifiable pathways for the two partners to work together.” It is, precisely, the aims of this project to be able to support the development of such a vision.

Therefore, in-line with the intended objectives, the outcomes of SPRING are as follows:
(1) SPRING is a multiple-domain cross-cutting supporting action that seeks to identify excellent researchers, research groups, and infrastructure in China. There are a lot of common research interests when comparing the topics listed in the Chinese research publications and calls for proposal, with those outlined in the EU FP7 environment theme. Hence, there is a lot of synergy if EU researchers can work together with Chinese researchers. The problem is who are these researchers, where are they based, and how do EU researchers find out more about them, if they do not publish in English peer reviewed journals or in English. The answer to this question lies at the heart of this project. We have therefore compiled a database of excellent Chinese researchers for reference.
(2) SPRING has identified many potential areas of research collaboration. Within the EU FP7 research strategy, it is clearly stated that “international cooperation in the environment research should (in the future) have a more strategic dimension, linked to the change in priorities, while maintaining the principle of mutual benefit.” It continued to mention that “A comprehensive and coherent set of cooperation activities are to be defined for major cooperation countries such as China and Russia, etc.... While research priorities should be set within an overall strategic framework, it is important to leave some flexibility for inclusion of issues emerging from continuous talks with the countries concerned. Therefore, SPRING has both directly or indirectly supported many dialogue between EU countries and China at regional as well as domestic levels.
(3) SPRING has investigated and developed a strategic development plan and initiated roadmaps for future collaborations in different sub-sectors of environmental science. The absence of a systematic roadmap for firmly embedding Foresight in the policy-making process was the main motivation behind this initiative. The study formulated practical guidelines to optimize the policy contribution of Foresight at the European level and it shows the best way of implementing Foresight at national and European levels. In the last decade, significant changes have taken place in the science-policy relationship and these are taken into account to ensure that Foresight exercises are rooted in the context of contemporary policy. Rather than provide a comprehensive discussion of the selection of social scientific Foresight techniques and approaches, the study instead provides an account of the ways in which Foresight feeds into the policy process.
(4) Finally there is a need to address the issue of “Understanding and Respect” in research and it forms the basis of long-term cooperation. Understanding applies to language, culture, work ethics and management style; Respect applies to definition of research excellence, prioritisation of research questions, there are many routes to research. Is state supported and managed mode inferior to open, research council lead mode? All nations are facing the same environmental challenges, but the strategic priorities may differ from country to country. This project has attempted an initial exploration of “what can be done to promote sustainable development while exploiting comparative advantages to develop our economy?”

In conclusion, SPRING is an open, transparent and multiple-domain cross-cutting supporting action for FP7’s Environment theme that has contributed to the following activities:
1) Enable consortium building and partnership: There is a real need to build high quality partnerships to cater for challenges in environmental research. In order to do this, researchers from EU need to know the competency, experience, expertise, etc, of Chinese researchers and vice versa.
2) Identify the best of China’s environmental researchers and research groups, and excellent research infrastructure. China is a vast country with nearly two thousand universities and research institutes, thus identifying research excellence in China will be extremely challenging.
3) Serve as a platform to link eminent and prominent professors and scholars with young and promising researchers from EU and China, while maintaining close contact with the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) and DG Environment. It will help us understand China’s latest environmental policies, concerns, ideas and innovations from all geographical regions in China, by actively engaging top researchers and policy advisors through activities such as focus groups, roadmapping and foresight workshops. This will, most definitely, improve EU-China Science and Technology cooperation in areas of mutual benefit, and therefore lead to potential cooperation opportunities and long-term partnerships.
4) Explore these ideas and implement them through a series of workshops and seminars to facilitate initial dialogue between researchers. These activities will cover all areas of the FP7 “Environment” theme, namely:
• Climate change, pollution and risk;
• Sustainable management of resources (land, water and air);
• Environmental technologies;
• Earth observations and assessment tools for sustainable management
Explore a new and methodological challenging approach to allow EU researchers to communicate with their China counterparts via a dedicated web platform, “SPRING-board”. This platform will host an online web-based auto-translation email system. We are certain that “SPRING-board” will overcome a lot of language and cultural difficulties between EU and Chinese researchers.

Project Results:
Work Package 1 – Identification of existing scientific excellence and collaborative opportunities

T1.1: Criteria for Excellence

For researchers, a three-level comprehensive index system was established. Its first level indices included publications and patents, number of PhD students, research projects, titles and awards, and experience. The score for each index can be calculated by the method given in the task based on the data of the researchers. And an upper limit of the score of each index is also determinate as the weight of the index.

Then hierarchical clustering method was used to group the samples researchers into world leading, internationally excellent, nationally excellent and ordinary groups according to their scores.

To simplify this task, statistic method of linear regression was applied to reduce the indices to only two indices, project and position. The grouping result of simple index system has a 72% similarity with the original one. Another simplified index system with title and position decided by experience of the SPRING members was also tried to grouping the researchers and proved have a 63% similarity.

The same method was used to assess the quality of research infrastructures.


T1.2: Compiling and maintaining a directory of researchers and research infrastructure in alignment with the EU FP7 Environment research theme


The significant result of this task is collection of the most complete and all-round information of Chinese environmental researchers and research infrastructure at provincial level, city level and municipality level, providing more data of relevant research quality, the functions and features of the relevant research facilities, laboratories and experimental fields for the whole database and directory of researchers and research infrastructure covering all the areas in the EU FP7 Environment research theme.

Other achievements in the context of this task is that through collection of the information of researchers required by the quality assessment model, evaluation of researchers, questionnaire, visits to the research organizations, the partners of SPRING knows more about Chinese environmental researchers and research organizations. On the other hand, more of Chinese environmental researchers and research organizations recognized SPRING project and understood more of EU’s consideration carrying out EU-China cooperation in relevant fields.


T1.3: Compiling and maintaining a directory of projects in environmental research in both China and EU member countries

TJU acquired the information about ongoing environmental research projects from major research funding agencies in China. These funding agencies include National Nature Science Foundation of China, Ministry of Environmental Protection of China, Ministry of Education of China, Ministry of Science and Technology of China, Ministry of Water Resources of China, Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development of China, and so on.

In addition, TJU also compiled the directory from its network of researchers, research institutes and universities. The institutes and universities include Tianjin Municipal Science and Technology Commission, the Institute of Environmental Science of Tianjin, the Institute of Water Conversation Science of Tianjin, the Institute of Environmental Protection of the Ministry of Agriculture, Tianjin Institute of Urban Construction, Nankai University, Tianjin Polytechnic University, Tianjin University of Technology, Tianjin University of Science and Technology, and so on.


T1.4: Identify current and future opportunities, as well as barriers, for EU and China environment research collaborations

• The information about timeframes and funding sources of the existing environmental projects about water research in China were collected.

• The projects in China about water research were classified according to timeframe and funding source.

• Strengths, capabilities and area of expertise of researchers involved in the existing water research projects in China were evaluated. Help to recognize gaps and overlaps between EU and Chinese researchers in these projects.

• Help to identify the practical collaboration opportunities and barriers both from project management and technical compatibility. Special attention was paid to policy limitations or constraints on research collaborations within current projects.

• An extended policy-briefing note was sent to the EC with recommendations on future EU-China collaboration on environmental sciences. It might be used as part of the basis to form Horizon 2020 funding schemes on environment and international collaboration.

Work Package 2 – Foresight Platforms: Foresight study and roadmaps of EU-China research collaborations

T2.1: Summary of environmental related foresight studies

T2.1.1 Understanding current environment issues related to EU and China

The significant results of this task is the background paper presenting a critical survey on past developments in the environmental domain and its present state in EU and China, setting out its strengths and weaknesses, and the associated opportunities and threats (using an inversed SWOT matrix), taking into consideration the European and global developments and trends. A compilation of various environmental issues from different stakeholders’ perspectives was also introduced in the background paper, with different environment issues compiled in accordance to the scope of FP7’s environment theme and also with respect to environment research agenda defined by Chinese research community.

Other achievements in the context of this task is that through analysis of the environmental issues common to EU and China, the current environmental research in EU and China, and summary of the findings in the background paper, the partners of SPRING, who are most prospective promoters of EU-China cooperation in relevant themes, obtains a better understanding towards the updated environmental issues and needs of environmental research, which is significant for future development.

T2.1.2 Review of environment related foresight studies

The significant result of this task is better understanding of the scale and extent of the environmental problems in Europe and the various solutions that were proposed over the years through collection, analysis and understanding of various EU Member States’ national and EU-wide foresight reports related to environment. This served to provide more sufficient foresight for roadmapping and the comparative consideration of China’s current environmental situation.

Other achievements in the context of this task was CRAES’s great efforts providing more persuasive evidence and material in China’s completing the review of environmental issues and solutions as the leader of WP2. On the other hand, China’s special situation and needs were integrated in the roadmapping, creating more starting points for future EU-China cooperation.

T2.1.3 Desk research to identify future trends in environmental research

The significant result of this task is identification of future trends in environmental research, taking current and future trends, issues and foresights into account, forming scoping paper, which further outline research capabilities, potential, policy issues and trends relevant to EU and China.

Other achievements in the context of this task was good networking among WP2 task leaders, panel members as well as experts in environment research, which had promoted further mutual understanding and laid good basis for their future potential cooperation. Besides, the surveys and questionnaires served not only as the information collectors, but also the disseminators with the influence of SPRING be recognized by more organizations and the public.

T2.2: Foresight study

T2.2.1 EU-China scenario building workshops

The result of the first workshop on key technologies was a list of 50 technologies – ten technologies in the domains of water, biodiversity, climate change, air and soil – with a strong potential to impact our lives in the following 15-20 years and therefore of greatest concern for both science and society. These 50 technologies were later fed into the online key technologies survey in order to be prioritied by a larger pool of environmental experts from the EU and China.

The outputs of the second workshop on success scenarios were the following four scenarios, which served as input to the last roadmapping workshop:

• “Tomorrow is another day”, developed by the biodiversity working group.
• “Noah’s ark”, developed by the water working group.
• “Win-Win”, developed by the climate change working group.
• “Health & Wealth”, developed by the air working group.

The outputs of the last roadmapping workshop were the strategic roadmaps for EU-China research collaboration in the domains of climate change, biodiversity, water and air until 2020, whose objectives were: i) to inform research policy making in environment at different levels of governance in EU and China; ii) to provide the basis for strategy formulation and setting concrete targets and priorities for EU-China environmental research cooperation until 2020; and iii) to elaborate policy recommendations. These roadmaps were the core input for the development of the roadmapping report of Task 2.2.3.

Deviation from Annex I and corrective actions taken:

Originally, the domains under scrutiny within the project were biodiversity conservation, water environment, atmospheric environment, climate change, soil environment and natural disasters, which constitute the FP7 environmental domains. However, some adjustments had to be made during the course of implementation of the project, because there were no environmental experts to form the natural disasters working group during the first key technologies workshop, held in Beijing in July 2011. As a result, the issues pertaining to this field were discussed as horizontal topics across the other domains, but since no list of key technologies was produced in this area, it had to be left out of the online key technologies survey and the next workshops. The foresight activities within the project are interlinked and the results from the first activities were used as inputs for the next ones. For that reason, when results couldn’t be produced as planned in a particular domain, the issues in that domain were discussed across the others, but as a thematic field it had to be left out from the next activities. This happened once again during the success scenario workshop, because no experts in the soil field were present during the event, held in ChongQing in March 2012. As a result, soil issues were discussed (where relevant) as horizontal topic across the other domains.

The first project activities took more time to be performed than initially planned as per the work programme of the project and as a result all activities have been executed later than the original work programme plan.

T2.2.2 Key technologies survey

The significant results of this task are identification and prioritization of totally 50 key technologies (10 technologies per domain) in the following environmental areas: climate change, water environment, atmospheric environment, biodiversity conservation and soil environment. These technologies have the potential to mitigate some of the negative environmental trends that will negatively impact the natural environments in Europe and China. Given the complexity of assessing environmental impact, uncertainty of the future and the limitation of traditional forecasting methodologies, it is important to mobilize expert opinion in searching out important technological areas where synergetic cooperation between the EU and China can be optimized.

Other major achievements in the context of this task were further support of SPRING roadmapping and broader social involvement and social influence of SPRING project as well as promotion of EU-China environmental cooperation.

Deviation from Annex I and corrective actions taken:

The fact that the survey was initially launched in English prevented a lot of Chinese scientists from participation. After discussing this problem during the consortium meeting, held in March 2012, the partners decided to overcome this obstacle by translating the survey in Chinese. As a result, in addition to the English version the survey was launched also in Chinese in May 2012. Both versions were deactivated at the end of July 2012 with a final response rate of 218 participants.

The duration of the survey was extended from the initially planned 3 months to 7 months since the response rate was quite low although more than 1,000 people were invited to participate. The language barrier was another factor contributing to the low response rate among Chinese researchers, but this issue was duly addressed by the partners and corrective measures were applied (see the paragraph in p. 3 above). The extension did not have any negative repercussions on other project tasks. The analysis of the online survey results was made right on time in order to be used as input for the roadmapping workshop in Cyprus, as well as for the most important project deliverable, namely the roadmapping report (D2.5).

The translation of the online survey into Chinese was a corrective action addressing the low response rate among Chinese researchers because of the language barrier. The measure was discussed during the consortium meeting in March 2012 and was approved by all project partners. As a result, the duration of the online survey was extended, but there were no negative consequences for any other project tasks or deliverables.

T2.2.3 Roadmapping

The significant results of this task are great supports to the identification, selection and development of alternatives to satisfy a set of industry or market needs and basis for strategy formulation and concrete targets and priorities setting for EU-China environmental research. Besides, a clearly oriented path of EU-China collaboration in environmental research from today to the future was pointed out.

Other major achievements in the context of this task were broad involvement of relevant environmental experts’ participation and joint contribution to the roadmapping report, which will have significant influence on the EU-China strategy towards environmental cooperation.

Work Package 3 – Breaking cultural, language and management barriers

T3.1: Bilingual web portal – “SPRING-board”

The University of Surrey is the leader of this task. The web portal was set up and began running in Oct 2010. Its website address is www.springproject.eu. The website build and design was a task allocated to an IT specialist hired by University of Surrey.

This website is currently in both English and Chinese but the Chinese version is not a direct verbatim translation of the English version. Currently the website has basic information about the SPRING project including participant and event details, outcomes of all the WPs, the news and information about each event and workshop held by SPRING project. Also a wiki type web discussion forum set up in Task3.5 maintained by TJU was a function of the website.

T3.2: Building database software engine

In the online database system, the information of infrastructures and researchers can be stored, displayed, queried, added, deleted, edited and checked, and especially it is useful for a large number of institutions and researchers to share their information.
Among them, the research infrastructure represents each university or research institution. The data table for the infrastructure in the database contains the data fields for basic information of University/Research Institution, National key lab(s)/ Ministry/Province Key lab(s) in the infrastructure, Web Site, Contact Person and et al. Researchers refer to the corresponding persons in various universities and research institutions. The basic information of researchers including University, Name of Institute, Web Site, National Key Lab, Ministry/Province Key Lab(s), Name, Title A (e.g. Professor, Associate Professor), Administrative Position (e.g. Director), Title B (e.g. Chang Jiang Scholar), Email, Personal Home Page/phone/fax and Research Area, et al. The researchers, infrastructure managers and the administrators of the database have different authorities.

The style of this database system's user interface unifies the website of SPRING and can be easily combined with the original SPRING website.

T3.3: Development of SPRING-mail system; and
T3.4: Extensive testing of SPRING-mail system

SPRING-mail allows users to write emails in either English or Chinese, and will translate this email into the choice language prior to sending it to the recipient. In other words, an EU researcher can write in English to a Chinese researcher, and the recipient will receive the email in Chinese. We believe that this is a truly innovative idea and will be extremely useful for SPRING.

The SPRING-mail inherits normal functions of mail client: POP and SMTP to send and receive mail, SSL encryption protocol support, Mark Read and unread mail, block Outbox Drafts and trash classification, bulk mail, view the message content in a hypertext way, mechanism of timing receive e-mail, contacts support et al. This client also supports multi-account, regular trash clean up and other extra features. And the SPRING-mail is designed with a whole new interface layout and display way.

After testing work for about 4 months, some bugs of the email system were found and fixed by the developer. And some suggestions about the interface, display and operation were collected and the email system was improved accordingly.
The SPRING-mail system is working well now. The testing work made the email system run continuously, stably with all the functions in different operation systems. It also gave a proof that the email system can be used and spread to the researchers around the world because the system has not only the normal functions that common email system has but also the special English-Chinese translation module to break the language barrier. It really can enhance the communication of EU-China researchers in environmental and even other areas.

T3.5: Set-up Discussion forum to encourage wider participation

This discussion forum has seven categories pre-defined. The ‘Welcome mat’ introduces new members of the forum. The other six topics relate to the environmental challenges we face in the current society. List of the topics are: climate change, pollution and risks; Sustainable management of resources; Environmental Technologies; Earth observations and assessment tools; EU-China environment research collaborations: current and future opportunities or barriers? Future trends in environmental research.

After about 20 month’s operation, over one hundred articles have been posted on the forum, and the articles have been viewed over 12 thousand times. We find that the researchers are most interested in the topics that they have different opinions with the content of the articles. Also some researchers or scientists gave many important messages of research collaborations potentials or obstacles. Further, we also found that there were many differences and gaps of the ideas and methods among the scientists and governors.

Work Package 4 – Project management and dissemination
The project has developed a sufficient project management structure to support the other three work packages as well as performing dissemination activities both in Europe and various geographical regions of China.

T4.1: Establish the SPRING expert advisory panel and SPRING management team
The Management team is comprised of the Project Coordinator, Project Manager and the Work Package Leaders (WP1 – THU, WP2 – CRAES, WP3 – UoS, WP4 – UoS). The Management Team comprise only 4 institutions and have met at roughly six-monthly intervals to discuss progress.

The project expert advisory panel members were identified. Most of them have long standing academic track record in their research fields. They were invited to participate in the project three scenario-building workshops, and two international conferences. They have made significant contribution towards the project achievements. The SPRING project 'Expert Advisory Panel' is chaired by the coordinator. The following are the members of the panel:

• Prof. David Butler, Professor of Water Engineering and Associate Dean for Research, University of Exeter, UK
• Prof. Jining Chen, Tsinghua University, China
• Prof. Trevor Davies, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, University of East Anglia, UK/ Deputy Director for International Activities, Tyndall Centre.
• Prof. Geoffrey D. Gooch, University of Dundee, UK
• Prof. Jürgen Kropp, Head of Climate Change and Development, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany
• Dr Prashant Kumar, Senior lecturer, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Surrey, UK
• Prof. Thorjørn Larssen, Norwegian Institute for Water Research(NIVA) and University of Oslo, Norway
• Prof. Rosalind Malcolm, Environmental Lawyer, Barrister, Guildford Chambers/Director of Environmental Regulatory Research Group, University of Surrey, UK
• Prof. Wei Meng, Academician, President of Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, China
• Dr Luca Montanarella, Land Resource Management Unit, Institute for Environment and Sustainability, European Commission, Joint Research Centre
• Prof. Gustaf Olsson, Lund University, Sweden
• Ms. Lisen Runsten, Programme Officer, Climate Change and Biodiversity, United Nations Environment Programme, World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC)
• Prof. Clive Sabel, Professor of Climate Change & Health, College of Life & Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, UK
• Prof. XiaoYan Tang, Professor, Peking University/ Vice President, Chinese Society of Environmental Sciences, China
• Dr Gergely Tóth, Land Resource Management Unit, Institute for Environment and Sustainability, European Commission, Joint Research Centre
• Prof. Hao Wang, China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research, China
• Prof. Alfred Wiedensohler, Head of the Research Group "Tropospheric Aerosol", Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research, Leipzig, Germany
• Prof. Binhui Zheng, Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, China

T4.2: Organise information gathering workshops and seminars on behalf of other WPs; and
T4.4: Organise two international workshops on “towards the common future of EU-China collaborative environmental research”.

Surrey has taken the lead on organising workshops and conferences throughout the project lifecycle. The following is the list of workshops and conferences the project organised:

• Special session EG1-Today and Tomorrow: Regional Environmental Perspectives and Futures. European Geosciences Union 2011, Vienna. 7th – 8th April 2011

The SPRING project held a seminar and a collaborative meeting during April 7th -8th at the European Geosciences Union 2011 congress in Vienna. The breadth of expertise of the attending delegates was an un-missable opportunity to gain input on SPRING activities from the scientific community.

The SPRING seminar was held on Thursday 7th and designed to compare and contrast experiences on environment research and policy from different regions, with speakers from the EU, Russia and China. Speakers included Asst. Prof. Zhou Yun of the China Research Academy of Environmental Sciences who spoke on the ongoing evolution of environment policy in China, Professor Evgeny Gordov from the Siberian Center for Environmental Research and Training who discussed climate modelling in Russia and Dr Michaela Bray of Cardiff University who spoke on the European approach to climate change research.

• EU-China Environment Research: Looking back and moving forward together. Beijing. 2nd July 2011.

Large-scale collaborative projects involving partners from multiple countries and regions are needed to tackle the big environment issues of the future. Opportunities for strategic EU-China research addressing sustainability and the environment are increasing, supported by the focus on sustainable growth and environment protection promoted by Europe’s 2020 strategy and China’s 12th Five Year Plan.

In this innovative two-day workshop, invited speakers from large and medium-scale collaborative EU and China projects presented the best of existing collaborative research in the environment sector and participate in networking events. Information on ongoing and upcoming funding opportunities from both the EU and China was distributed. A scenario-building workshop to help identify emerging environment research issues also took place.

• Foresight study workshop. Beijing. 3rd July 2011

SPRING organised this event to publicise SPRING and to progress the foresight objectives. The event was successfully advertised through the Euraxess Links China website and newsletter. The morning of Saturday 2nd was devoted to a plenary session to explore the concept of consortia research. EU and China speakers presented their experiences of large-scale research consortia, both the positive and negative aspects.

The foresight session involved EU and China researchers contributing to the SPRING foresight study. Participants were divided into 5 thematic groups (Air, Water, Soil, Biodiversity, Climate change). The natural hazards domain was considered as a horizontal topic in the other 5 topics, since no participants in the workshop had the corresponding expertise.

• Success scenario building workshop. Chongqing, China. 30 – 31 March 2012

The overall objective of the workshop was to develop a total of five success scenarios, i.e. one scenario within each of the five environmental domains - climate change, water environment, atmospheric environment, biodiversity conservation and soil environment and then, based on these success scenarios, to identify and list areas and priorities of common interest for future EU-China research collaboration in the environmental domain.

The success scenario workshop brought together at least 30 environmental experts from China and Europe, who will discuss the environmental dynamics in a global context in order to produce five success scenarios and a list of joint priorities in environmental research.

• Roadmapping Workshop: key environmental technologies for EU-China future collaboration. Nicosia, Cyprus. 2 – 3 September 2012.

The final workshop of the Foresight series, Roadmapping workshop, was held in parallel with the EASTWEST 2012, East meets West, International Congress and Exhibition on Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Cyprus, Nicosia. The Congress itself includes scientific presentations on climate change, energy, environment and water research. SPRING project Roadmapping workshop attracted EU and Chinese environmental research experts and policy makers to contribute in building a roadmap of future EU-China environment research partnership for the next 5-10 years.

The workshop focused on five environmental domains: climate change, water environment, atmospheric environment, biodiversity conservation and soil environment. It’s findings contributed to the roadmapping report with identified research opportunities.

• International Conference on EU-China Environmental Research Collaboration. Beijing, China. 14 – 15 December 2012.

The International Conference on EU-China Environmental Research Collaboration featured state-of-the-art research on various disciplines of environmental sciences from prestigious scientists in the EU and China, as well as lessons and experience learnt on EU-China collaborations. There was also a session on the current Chinese environmental research infrastructure, future collaboration funding opportunities and roadmap on key technologies on environmental research. The conference attracted EU and Chinese environmental research experts and policy makers who would like to be informed about current environmental research trends on atmosphere, climate change, water, soil and biodiversity, EU-China research cooperation and initiatives, as well as strategic development plans and roadmaps for future collaboration opportunities from the EC and China.

SPRING project also presented the project findings to the conference audience. The conference was project final dissemination conference in China.

• Forum on China's environmental research excellence, potential collaboration opportunities & roadmaps 2013. Brussels, Belgium. 15 Feb 2013.

This forum was organised as part of the project final dissemination activities in the EU. The main attendees to the forum were EC officials who are interested in EU-China collaboration.

T4.3: Organise dissemination activities and build a contact list

Apart from organising workshops and conferences to disseminate the project results. All partners have been actively involved in project disseminations. Researchers in various environmental science institutions, policy makers in the government offices in China were contacted. Research visits were arranged to environmental research institutions in EU countries, such as Institute for Environment and Sustainability, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, environmental science department in the University of Lancaster, UK, etc.

T4.5 Establish collaboration links with two initiatives:
a) China – Europe Water Platform (CEWP), funded by the EC and supported by China Ministry of Water Resources

A strong link has been established between SPRING project and CEWP. Several members of the project have attended and presented at the following events:

• International Conference on Research Cooperation within the China Europe Water Platform. Jinan, China. 16 May 2013.

The conference updated the progress of CEWP to the participants, gave the opportunity for European and Chinese researchers to meet and exchange presentations and for leaders of the EU and Chinese government departments to set out their roles and interests in the CEWP research cooperation programme.

• Shaping EU China Water Research: Research roundtable. Brussels, Belgium. 20 June 2013.

CEWP, SPRING and other partners held a Research Roundtable in Brussels on identification of potential themes and topics for joint EU – China water research under Horizon 2020. The roundtable had 30 participants representing research institutions in EU Member States, China and the European Commission.

The specific objective of the roundtable was to deliver a set of recommendations for consideration in future joint EU – China research programs, specifically for Horizon 2020. This note presents the recommendations.

The Research Roundtable identified three principal drivers for joint EU – China research:

1) The opportunities to scale up nearly all aspects of water research, including geographical study area, river flow quantity and extensiveness of pollutant presence, population size, growth rate and demographic change due to internal migration

2) The large variability of water environments and ecosystems in China, which in aspects like climate change exhibit geographic gradients from north to south, east to west and lowland to mountains that mirror those in Europe

3) The magnitude of water challenges in China, noticeable water quantity and water quality, which are larger than in Europe and therefore provide better opportunities for measuring responses to applied research and mitigation measures over time.

The participants agreed three themes as the most important to be addressed in joint research:

1) Flood risk management

2) Water supply security

3) Ecosystem restoration

b) EU-China partnership on Urbanisation

T4.6: Establish a reporting structure and compiling regular SPRING progress reports.

Project manager foresees the project progress and ensure all deliverables to be submitted on time. Project progress reports and deliverables were sent to the project manager on required months. A reminder was normally sent out to the relevant partner leaders in advance, so that partners can make necessary arrangements and report back any potential problems.

• The potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far) and the main dissemination activities and exploitation of results (not exceeding 10 pages).

CRAES:
The SPRING project is playing an important role in creating and providing a solid basis for future EU-China collaboration in environmental research. With the identified common needs and opportunities, analyzed potential topics of research cooperation and initiatives, mapped competences and potentials of Chinese research organizations and major infrastructure, investigated strategic development plans and initiate roadmaps for future collaborations, SPRING project has provided a bridge and telescope for EU-China collaboration in environmental research.

As the leader of WP2, CRAES has more opportunities to communicate with EU partners, while the EU partners have more channels to know about CRAES. In this regard, to meet the EU-China common needs in carrying out more strategic environmental cooperation, CRAES succeeded in application of three EU 7th Framework Programme of Marie Curie Actions of People International Research Staff Exchange Scheme (IRSES) together with partners from China and EU.

The 1st EU 7th Framework Programme of Marie Curie Actions of People International Research Staff Exchange Scheme in Global Partners in Contaminated Land Management (GLOCOM) was jointly successfully applied by University Ca’ Foscari of Venice (UNIVE), Italy, Umeå University (UMU), Sweden, CRAES and Beijing Normal University (BNU). The duration of GlOCOM is 4 years from 2011. The main objective of this program is to strengthen the quality of research by developing international collaborations and advance the decision making on complex issues in contaminated land management. Specifically, in this collaboration UNIVE will involve its expertise on multicriteria decision analysis, decision support systems and risk assessment. UMU will bring understanding of mobilization processes for persistent organic and inorganic pollutants in soil and ground water. CRAES will offer its expertise on ecology, risk assessment and management of contaminated site and BNU on environment risk assessment and characteristic of soil pollution.

The 2nd EU 7th Framework Programme of Marie Curie Actions of People International Research Staff Exchange Scheme in Evaluating Policies for Sustainable Energy Investments: towards an integrated approach on national and international stage (EPSEI) was jointly successfully applied by University of Turin, University of Eastern Piedmont, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Euro-Mediterranean Center for Climate Change, Université de Provence, University of Lund, Tomsk State university, CRAES and Tsinghua University. The duration of EPSEI is 3 years from 2011. EPSEI aims at improving the integration of methodologies and tools concerning the evaluation of investments for sustainable energy.

The 3rd EU 7th Framework Programme of Marie Curie Actions of People International Research Staff Exchange Scheme in Fate and Impact of Atmospheric Pollutants (AMIS) was jointly successfully applied by CRAES and counterparts from France, Germany, Spain and Denmark, etc. The duration of AMIS is 4 years from 2012. The aim of this project is to establish long-term collaboration platform between China and EU excellent scientific research organizations in fields of air quality and climate change.

Besides the three EU Marie Curie Action People IRSES projects, in 2013, CRAES successfully applied for the project of “Demonstration of Pollution Discharge Management for Water Quality Improvement in the Songhuajiang-Liaohe River Basin” under EU–China Environmental Sustainability Programme (ESP) as the applicant, together with Liaoning Academy of Environmental Sciences (LAES) of China, Helmholtz – Zentrum für Umweltforschung GmbH – UFZ of Germany, Heilongjiang Provincial Research Institute of Environmental Science (HRIES) of China, and The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) of the UK. The duration of this project is 3 years from 2013. The overall objective is to develop and demonstrate management tools and practices for pollution reduction in the Songhuajiang-Liaohe River Basin (SLRB), and support water quality improvement in the demonstration areas to realize the goal of water pollution control in the SLRB designated in the “12th Five-Year Plan” of China.

It is obvious that under the efforts of SPRING project, CRAES is play a more and more active role in promoting and implementing EU-China collaboration in environmental research.

UNIVBRIS:
1. Collaboration has been established between Bristol and several other UK universities (Including Cambridge University) with Chongqing University of China in establishing a National Centre for International Research of Low-Carbon Green Buildings in April, 2013

2. Potential collaboration between Bristol University and Ecological Sequestration Trust (Peter Head), Tongji University and Chongqing University is being explored to develop a sustainable regional development model framework in China, which is likely to bear fruit in 2014/15.

Potential Impact:

CRAES:
The SPRING project is playing an important role in creating and providing a solid basis for future EU-China collaboration in environmental research. With the identified common needs and opportunities, analyzed potential topics of research cooperation and initiatives, mapped competences and potentials of Chinese research organizations and major infrastructure, investigated strategic development plans and initiate roadmaps for future collaborations, SPRING project has provided a bridge and telescope for EU-China collaboration in environmental research.

As the leader of WP2, CRAES has more opportunities to communicate with EU partners, while the EU partners have more channels to know about CRAES. In this regard, to meet the EU-China common needs in carrying out more strategic environmental cooperation, CRAES succeeded in application of three EU 7th Framework Programme of Marie Curie Actions of People International Research Staff Exchange Scheme (IRSES) together with partners from China and EU.

The 1st EU 7th Framework Programme of Marie Curie Actions of People International Research Staff Exchange Scheme in Global Partners in Contaminated Land Management (GLOCOM) was jointly successfully applied by University Ca’ Foscari of Venice (UNIVE), Italy, Umeå University (UMU), Sweden, CRAES and Beijing Normal University (BNU). The duration of GlOCOM is 4 years from 2011. The main objective of this program is to strengthen the quality of research by developing international collaborations and advance the decision making on complex issues in contaminated land management. Specifically, in this collaboration UNIVE will involve its expertise on multicriteria decision analysis, decision support systems and risk assessment. UMU will bring understanding of mobilization processes for persistent organic and inorganic pollutants in soil and ground water. CRAES will offer its expertise on ecology, risk assessment and management of contaminated site and BNU on environment risk assessment and characteristic of soil pollution.

The 2nd EU 7th Framework Programme of Marie Curie Actions of People International Research Staff Exchange Scheme in Evaluating Policies for Sustainable Energy Investments: towards an integrated approach on national and international stage (EPSEI) was jointly successfully applied by University of Turin, University of Eastern Piedmont, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Euro-Mediterranean Center for Climate Change, Université de Provence, University of Lund, Tomsk State university, CRAES and Tsinghua University. The duration of EPSEI is 3 years from 2011. EPSEI aims at improving the integration of methodologies and tools concerning the evaluation of investments for sustainable energy.

The 3rd EU 7th Framework Programme of Marie Curie Actions of People International Research Staff Exchange Scheme in Fate and Impact of Atmospheric Pollutants (AMIS) was jointly successfully applied by CRAES and counterparts from France, Germany, Spain and Denmark, etc. The duration of AMIS is 4 years from 2012. The aim of this project is to establish long-term collaboration platform between China and EU excellent scientific research organizations in fields of air quality and climate change.

Besides the three EU Marie Curie Action People IRSES projects, in 2013, CRAES successfully applied for the project of “Demonstration of Pollution Discharge Management for Water Quality Improvement in the Songhuajiang-Liaohe River Basin” under EU–China Environmental Sustainability Programme (ESP) as the applicant, together with Liaoning Academy of Environmental Sciences (LAES) of China, Helmholtz – Zentrum für Umweltforschung GmbH – UFZ of Germany, Heilongjiang Provincial Research Institute of Environmental Science (HRIES) of China, and The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) of the UK. The duration of this project is 3 years from 2013. The overall objective is to develop and demonstrate management tools and practices for pollution reduction in the Songhuajiang-Liaohe River Basin (SLRB), and support water quality improvement in the demonstration areas to realize the goal of water pollution control in the SLRB designated in the “12th Five-Year Plan” of China.

It is obvious that under the efforts of SPRING project, CRAES is play a more and more active role in promoting and implementing EU-China collaboration in environmental research.

UNIVBRIS:
1. Collaboration has been established between Bristol and several other UK universities (Including Cambridge University) with Chongqing University of China in establishing a National Centre for International Research of Low-Carbon Green Buildings in April, 2013

2. Potential collaboration between Bristol University and Ecological Sequestration Trust (Peter Head), Tongji University and Chongqing University is being explored to develop a sustainable regional development model framework in China, which is likely to bear fruit in 2014/15.


Main contact: Professor Soon-Thiam Khu (s.khu@surrey.ac.uk)