Science and technology representatives from the United States and the People’s Republic of China marked 30 years of science and technology cooperation on October 15 at the beginning of their 13th biannual Joint Commission Meeting on Science & Technology Cooperation, held at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC. Dr. John Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, headed the 56-member U.S. delegation that included high-ranking representatives from more than a dozen U.S. government agencies and research institutions. Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs Dr. Kerri-Ann Jones and President of the National Academy of Sciences Dr. Ralph Cicerone spoke at the opening session.
Minister Wan Gang of the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology led the 46-member Chinese delegation that included the People’s Republic of China’s Ambassador to the United States, Zhou Wenzhong, as well as officials from several ministries involved in science, research, education and technology and innovation.
In 1979, the U.S.-China Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement was the first agreement signed by the U.S. with China by President Jimmy Carter and Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping. The Agreement continues to serve as a cornerstone for the bilateral relationship. Since its signing, the Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement has facilitated an era of robust government-to-government research and exchange programs in areas of mutual interest including agriculture, energy, health, environment, earth sciences, marine research, and nuclear safety to improve the quality of life for the people of both countries.
The Agreement provides a framework under which 16 or more U.S. science and technology-based entities and nearly the same number of Chinese government counterparts can actively engage in collaborative research and development. Currently, there are more than 30 agency-to- agency ongoing, joint-project collaborations. For the 21st century, U.S.-China joint science and technology cooperation priorities will include clean energy and climate change, food security and agriculture, public health, and general cooperation seeking innovative science and technology-based solutions to global challenges.