This week I am in China together with a delegation headed by the Swedish Minister for Higher Education and Research, Helene Hellmark Knutsson. It is very satisfying to experience how strong the Karolinska Institutet brand is in China.
Mobility and collaboration has been two coherent themes at many of the meetings. A lot of Chinese students go abroad for bachelor, masters and PhD studies for instance at KI. However, there are still not many foreign students in China. The language has been a barrier but is improving quickly. Short summer courses might be an attractive complementary opportunity. There is already plenty of collaborative projects between scientists in China and Sweden, not least KI. However, some funding is usually important to get a good idea for a collaboration to develop into a true collaboration.
The delegation has met with the Chinese Minister of Education, Chen Baosheng and Wan Gang, Minister for Science andTtechnology. It is important to bring up at the ministry of education that we very much value the scholarships from the Chinese Scholarship Council to support PhD studies. However, it would be important that the level of funding is similar to a PhD position at KI. At the Ministry of Science and Technology, I brought up the wish that calls for collaborative projects is expanded to include life sciences.
We had an interesting visit to CAMS (Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences) with which KI already has extensive collaboration in many areas. With the demographic changes seen in both countries aging research was clearly identified as an area of high priority for both countries. Here KI can really contribute. Of particular interest was the visit to the associated hospital where digitalization is really explored. At the National Chinese Science Council it was important to emphasize the value of the calls for collaborative projects between China and Sweden and that these calls are maintained in a predictable process with regular calls to facilitate planning for scientists.
Combined MD/PhD degree
We also had a visit Tsinghua University, a comprehensive highly ranked university which is now expanding its activities in life sciences and medicine. They presented an interesting initiative with a combined MD/PhD degree including top universities in the US with an ambition to provide similar initiatives in Europe. Finally at the Chinese-Sweden Health Care Summit, I had the pleasure of presenting Karolinska Institutet and some the important work that our scientists do.
Later today we are off for a one day visit to Shanghai.