IntroductionEgenis PhD students spend a fortnight studying in Beijing.
Two Egenis PhD students, Kai Wang and Marco Liverani, travelled to Beijing at the beginning of June to attend a summer school entitled 'The Governance and Regulation of Emerging Biotechnologies'. The event was co-organized by the Institute of Policy and Management of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Research Councils of the UK and the ESRC Genomics Network.
For Marco this was his first trip to China, but for Kai it was a return home - he has a Masters degree from the University of Science and Technology of China. He writes:
"The joint summer school of 12 days was a valuable and enjoyable event for the participants both from Chinese institutions and from the ESRC Genomics Network. Supplemented by cultural events of varied forms, the full programme of the summer school included staff and students' presentations, field visits, and a research proposal contest. In the presentation sessions, I personally learnt a lot about Intellectual Property (IP) protection applied in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), public engagement in China’s development of biotechnologies, as well as considering ethical issues at the frontier of life sciences and biotechnology. Then in our discussions after classes, I realized that all colleagues from the UK and China greatly benefited from both staff and student presentations.
"The field visits to institutes of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, a transgenic plants field trail station, biotech firms and an agricultural sightseeing garden in Lang-fang Hi-tech Park offered students and teachers alike the opportunity to examine closely China’s biotechnology industry at work in laboratories and commercial sites. Conversations with Chinese scientists inspired and consolidated the exciting ideas we developed as well as the theoretical issues we discussed in the class.
"One of the most inspiring and exciting activities of this summer school, if not the best, was the research proposal contest. Students from different kinds of disciplinary backgrounds initially worked together in groups on different topics. After group presentations, all groups were encouraged to develop collaborative research plans. In the final stage, Nina Moeller from Cesagen and Jialing Lv from the Chinese Academy of Sciences won the contest with the most appealing proposal. But in a larger sense, everyone was a winner: what we learnt in this productive summer school was far more than we expected. The productive time we experienced in the summer school, I believe, will pay dividends in the further development of research ideas and collaborations between our countries."
Marco adds: "The long trip to Beijing was definitely worth it. Not only did we expand our knowledge about the governance of biotechnology in China and Europe, but we had the opportunity to take a glimpse into the culture and society of this fascinating and fast-changing part of the world. The establishing of enduring connections and collaborations with both our Chinese and UK-based colleagues will add further value to this productive and rewarding experience."
Read Marco's full account of the China-UK summer school. (opens as pdf)