Recently, an essay titled “Science superpowers find common ground” was published in the journal Nature, taking the example of Chinese-US cooperation achievements in recent years of Yale-NUIST Center on Atmospheric Environment co-constructed by NUIST and Yale University, probing into the status quo, significance and challenges of international scientific research.
Editors of Nature figure out a phenomenon that Chinese–US research partnerships outnumber all other international pairings. In order to dig out the causes in the aspects of cultural background and policy orientation, the writer interviewed Prof. Xuhui Lee, associate professor Wei Xiao and Dr. Chang Cao from Yale-NUIST Centerat the University of Minnesota which is a partner of the Yale-NUIST Center, and other people. , Professor Tim Griffis
As reported, there is a long history of scientific research relationship between China and US. Richard Suttmeier, an expert on Chinese science policy and professor emeritus at Oregon State University in Eugene, points out that this cooperation is a win-win relationship between US and Chinese researchers. In China, researchers have intense pressure to publish high quality papers in English language journals; while, in US it is fiercely competitive to get granted and the funding is shrinking, even if the excellent proposals cannot get approved. As said by Lee in the article, “It's difficult to get funding for large field programmes in the US. But in China, you can get a large grant.” And Tim Griffis, a biometeorologist, recalls visiting labs in Nanjing and Beijing in 2012. “They had all the latest toys and analysers.” he says. But US researchers typically receive funding for new instruments only when they change universities and have to set up a new lab. Meanwhile, in the tide of Chinese-US research collaborations, more and more Chinese graduates and researchers go to America and collaborate with world-class scientists in US, and take the research experience back to China, carrying it out in managing Chinese labs and improving the quality of papers. It is a virtuous cycle for qualified outputs reinforcing the collaboration.
The win-win cooperation is embodied by a case study of heat-island effect research in Yale-NUIST Center. In 2004, Lei Zhao, a member of the Center doing two years of his doctorate at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, developed a model to clarify the causes of the heat-island effect and published his research outcomes in Nature. Later, Chang Cao, a doctoral student in Yale-NUIST's joint PhD programme sponsored by China Scholarship Council applied this model on China. He finds out the shortcomings of the model and then discovers the effect of haze in heat-island of Chinese cities, and the haze study was published in Nature Communications in August, 2016. Lee says creating the urban heat island model would not have been possible without his Chinese collaborators, in terms of money and manpower.
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