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Potential for Chinese-Australian science partnerships: experts


By Zhang Zhihao | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-09-04 21:55 

The Chinese and Australian scientific communities have great potential for partnership in tackling sustainability, rapid urbanization, new cutting-edge technologies, as well as other pressing challenges of the time, experts from both countries said on Wednesday. 

In this rapidly changing world, profound changes brought by new disruptive technologies have occurred to our economy, social development and daily lives, said Pan Jiaofeng, president of the Institutes of Science and Development of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. 

Pan made the remarks during the second annual Sino-Australia Science Future Summit on Wednesday. 

The meeting was organized by CASISD, University of New South Wales in Sydney, and journal publisher Nature Research. This year's theme was Living in Smart Cities with 21st Century Technology. 

"Our finance system has changed due to algorithms and digital currencies. Our transportation has changed due to electric cars. Our communication has changed due to new digital technologies. Our living spaces have changed due to smart cities and smart countries," Pan said. 

Australia and China are both important countries in the Asia-Pacific region, and by collaborating in science, technology and education, both countries could more accurately deal with the major issues facing Australia, China and the world, and truly promote global cooperation, stability and development, he said. 

Graham Fletcher, Australian ambassador to China, said blockchain and artificial intelligence are examples of 21st century technologies that are often on people's mind, as blockchains are being used to support and verify global transitions, while AI is being applied to a wide range of sectors from health to transportation. 

"New technologies are being developed and applied everywhere," he said. 

As a result, people may be worried that these new technologies, such as AI, might get things wrong and be abused or infringe on people's privacy, he said. 

Fortunately, China, Australia as well as the international scientific communities are holding discussions and working together to address some of these issues, which will maximize the potential of these technologies, he said. 

Ian Jacobs, president of the University of New South Wales, said the university has been collaborating with the Chinese Academy of Sciences for 10 years through scientific inquiries and innovation "and (that) the cooperation has exceeded our expectations." 

In recent years, China has overtaken the United States as Australia's top co-author of scientific papers, Jacobs said, adding that China has "emerged as a major source of knowledge creation". 

Both China and Australia are willing to share their knowledge to benefit each other and the world, he said. 

Jacobs highlighted the fact that there is still room to grow in Sino-Australia scientific cooperation, as about three percent of China's international papers are co-written with Australian peers. 

"I hope to see more Chinese and Australian researchers collaborate in more future research," he said.