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Following the common policy of the EU towards China, the German Federal Government has published a new Strategy for China defining new parameters under which Germany’s interests will be upheld in its cooperation with China who is defined simultaneously as a partner, competitor and systemic rival.
The approach in scientific cooperation will be guided by values and interests, also in humanities and social sciences by following the principle of freedom of science with all the responsibilities it entails. The lead will be taken from the Federal Government’s fundamental research policy priorities and the dialogue with the universities and research institutions will be strengthened to this end.
As China is considering the dual use of civilian research for military purposes through its Military-Civil Fusion policy, Germany will work to ensure greater reciprocity and improved conditions for scientific cooperation, including at the EU level, e. g. within the framework of Horizon Europe. It is also important to remove existing imbalances concerning access to major Chinese research institutions. Beyond this, the Federal Government is seeking an improved mutual understanding of the respective funding structures and processes.
In talks with the Chinese Government, the German Federal Government is committed to improving the working conditions of German scientific organisations in China by supporting the cooperation of German universities and non-university research institutions with China. The Federal Government is advising the German scientific community with regards to taking precautions for risks in dealing with China and preventing the emergence of unilateral dependencies in this cooperation.
How will the strategy enfold in practice, remains to be seen. As reported by Science Business, the German ministries still have to agree on the division of responsibilities in following up to the strategic guidance.