"Realistically shaping scientific cooperation with China"

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) has today published guidelines for academic cooperation with China in a recommendation paper. The DAAD favours a realpolitik approach, which also forms the basis of the German government's China strategy.

Deutsche und chinesische Fahne

Last year, the German government presented its China strategy, which undertakes a comprehensive reassessment of relations with the People's Republic. The DAAD recommendation paper published today derives three general guiding principles from the government’s reassessment for German higher education institutions dealing with Chinese partners. These guiding principles should be interest-orientated, risk-reflective and competence-based. For each guiding principle, the paper contains concrete recommendations for the implementation of this foreign science policy approach at higher education institutions. In addition to the Federal Government's China strategy, the recommendations are based on intensive dialogue with partners in China and Germany, alongside experts within the DAAD and the DAAD member universities.

"China has developed into a successful scientific nation and is now a world leader in some areas. In addition, many of the man-made crises, such as rapid climate change and the mass extinction of species, can only be successfully overcome on a global scale in cooperation with China," said Professor Dr Joybrato Mukherjee, President of the DAAD. "At the same time, the People's Republic is a challenging partner in foreign science policy and is also seen as a systemic rival by the German government in its China strategy. Academic cooperation with China must take this differentiated reassessment into account: scientific cooperation with China must be shaped realistically. The DAAD therefore supports German universities in sharpening their own scientific interests, recognising opportunities and risks as well as developing or expanding clear review procedures and processes for existing or future cooperation."

The DAAD President believes that these guiding principles and recommendations for action proposed by the DAAD could pave the way for such further development. At the same time, they call for a more comprehensive exchange within the scientific community in Germany on scientific interests, the expansion of existing China expertise at German universities and the securement of funding for the establishment and further development of the necessary processes. "The China expertise rightly called for in the federal government's strategy must be consistently expanded: This should preferably be done with our own resources and in independent structures. Only then will we be able to safeguard our interests in the joint generation of knowledge, maintain access to Chinese institutions as important players in the international science system and make well-founded assessments in order to avoid risks," said Joybrato Mukherjee.

The DAAD has been supporting German universities for many years in expanding their China expertise through various funding programmes. Since 2019, it has also been offering advice on all areas of international university cooperation through the ‘Competence Centre for International Academic Cooperation’ (KIWi). In recent years, the DAAD has also presented strategy papers on shaping a foreign science realpolitik, in which it promotes realpolitik-based science diplomacy that consciously confronts global crises, upheavals and systemic rivalries whilst utilising the opportunities offered by scientific cooperation.


Related Topics

DAAD - Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst - German Academic Exchange Service