Vice President Prof. Hou Zengqian Visits Australia
At the invitation of Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (DIIS) of Australian government, Professor Hou Zengqian, member of Party Group and Vice President of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (hereinafter referred to as NSFC) visited Australia from February 11 to 15, 2019. The Australian side attached great importance to Prof. Hou’s visit, with Prof. Sue O'Reilly, Fellow of Australian Academy of Sciences and Distinguished Professor of Geology at Macquarie University, making thoughtful arrangements and accompanying the NSFC delegation throughout the visit. Prof. Hou met with leadership of Australian Parliament, Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, Australian Research Council (ARC), National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Australian Academy of Sciences (AAS), Geoscience Australia and relevant universities and research institutions, gave an overview of NSFC and its international cooperation, introduced NSFC’s funding and layout of research areas in earth sciences, with regards to deep earth science research in particular, and held extensive and in-depth discussions on China-Australia scientific cooperation, especially in earth sciences.
During the meeting with Senator and Shadow Minister Kim Carr, Prof. Hou said that China-Australia has a solid foundation of scientific cooperation and has yielded fruitful outcomes in geosciences. He hopes to strengthen coordination with the Australian side at the level of funding agencies, and to promote bilateral cooperation in major geoscience plans. Senator Carr said that under current circumstances, it is particularly important to carry out international scientific cooperation, especially in areas of common interest. China and Australia have great potentials for S&T cooperation.
During the meeting with the Secretary of Industry, Innovation and Science, Heather Smith and Deputy Secretaries Sue Weston and Mike Lawson, the two sides expressed common aspiration of promoting China-Australia S&T cooperation, and pledged to further discuss the joint funding mechanism and jointly promote international cooperation programs in deep earth research.
During discussion with representatives of ARC and NHMRC, the two sides reviewed existing collaborations and reached consensus on strengthening coordination and interaction in multilateral cooperation and policy. At the same time, Prof. Hou introduced the reform plan of NSFC, the latest funding progress and the preliminary plan of the “Belt and Road Initiative”, which received positive response and support from the Australian side.
Prof. Hou also visited Australian Academy of Sciences, Geoscience Australia, Auscope (Australian Geoscience Information Infrastructure Center) and ARC Center of Excellence for Nuclear-Surface Fluid Systems Research in Macquarie University. He had discussions with Professor Phil McFadden, Chief Scientist of UNCOVER (Australian Deep Exploration Program) and Fellow of Australian Academy of Sciences, Professor Steve Hill, Chief Scientist of Geoscience Australia, and Dr. Tim Rawling, CEO of Auscope, on planning and implementation of the UNCOVER program, management experience of the geoscientific instrument under the Auscope project, and research progress in geophysics respectively.
Mr. Wang Qiang, Counselor for S&T Affairs at the Chinese Embassy in Australia, accompanied the delegation. Dr. Fan Yingjie of Bureau of International Cooperation and Dr. Yao Yupeng of Department of Earth Sciences accompanied Prof. Hou throughout the visit.