In 2009, the Royal Society of Chemistry signed a cooperation agreement with the State Administration for Foreign Experts Affairs (SAFEA), a division of the Chinese Government. As part of a wider governmental initiative to enhance the global impact of Chinese science and China’s higher education institutions, the RSC and SAFEA provide funding for a Visiting Researchers Programme. This encourages academics from the UK to visit Chinese universities to share best practice, advise Chinese researchers on presenting their research to an international audience and to stimulate collaboration between UK and Chinese institutions.
This blog provides a space for participants to share their experiences and for the RSC to highlight the opportunities that stem from the SAFEA programme.

*The map is reproduced from the United Nations Statistics Division

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Dr Michael Shaver,  Chancellor's Fellow and Head of the Graduate School for the School of Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh, was one of the recipients of the 2016 RSC-SAFEA visiting researchers travel grants. Dr Shaver travelled from Edinburgh to Hangzhou to visit Professor Qi Wang at Zhejiang University. "I was impressed by the grand size and excellent science at Zhejiang University, the majesty of Hangzhou and West Lake but most of all by the graciousness of my hosts.... We’ve already started a small collaboration at the interface between our two research programs!", said Dr Shaver. 

Below is a detailed account of his trip diary in China. 

A screen capture of Michael Shaver and Qi Wang as part of a modern alumni engagement system

Posted by Kathleen Too on May 24, 2016 8:27 AM BST
Dr Gonçalo Bernardes who is based at the University of Cambridge travelled to China for the first time. He is a 2016 recipient of the SAFEA-RSC Visiting Researchers travel grant and took this opportunity to visit Tianjin University and Peking University. In Tianjin, he was hosted by Professor Nathaniel Finney and Professor Jay Siegel, Dean of the School of Pharmaceutical Science and Technology (SPST) of Tianjin University, and in Beijing, he was hosted by Professor Peng Chen at Peking University (PKU). "This is one of the few Chemical Biology Departments in the world where some fantastic research is being done..."said Dr Bernardes. Dr Gonçalo Bernardes is also the recipient of the 2016 Chem Soc Rev Emerging Investigator Lectureship and his visit to China was part of his 2016 lecture tour. 

Read more about his trip diary in China here

Gonçalo Bernardes at the west gate of Peking University

Posted by Kathleen Too on May 4, 2016 5:11 PM BST
Dr Paul Topham is a recipient of the 2016 SAFEA-RSC visiting researchers programme to China. In January 2016, he travelled to China to meet potential new collaborators at South China University of Technology and he took the opportunity to catch up with existing contacts in Guangdong University of Technology and Tongji University. He shared his passion for smart polymers with the Chinese scientists and learnt about Chinese culture and good Chinese sayings such as: Learn extensively, inquire thoroughly, ponder prudently, distinguish clearly and practice devotedly”.

"Although my visit to China was only one week, I feel that it was very productive and will begin a number of very strong collaborations between my group and those met this week.", said Dr Paul Topham, Reader in polymer chemistry at Aston University in the UK. 

Posted by Kathleen Too on Feb 1, 2016 11:32 AM GMT
Dr William Bloss is Reader on Armospheric Sciences and Deputy Head of School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Birmingham in the UK. Dr Bloss was one of the 2015 recipients of the travel grants to visit China, sponsored by the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs (SAFEA) and the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). He gives a detailed account of his visit to Nankai (Tianjin) and Beijing last November.

"Overall the visit was very interesting for me - both scientifically, and to gain a greater understanding of the career process and expectations - especially with regard to international engagement - of academic staff in China.  There is amazing potential in terms of talent, and increasingly resources, to perform top-level collaborative science." says Dr Bloss. 

Posted by Kathleen Too on Jan 11, 2016 3:43 PM GMT
Dr Eli Zysman-Colman visited China at the beginning of November as part of the 2015 SAFEA-RSC visiting researchers programme. He went to Hong Kong to visit some of his contacts, followed by a visit to Sun-Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou and Nanjing Technological University in Nanjing where Sun-Yat-Sen mausoleum is found. He also managed to squeeze a quick hello to his postdoctoral supervisor, Prof Jay Siegel in Tianjin University. "This was my first trip to China and it exceeded all of my expectations....I saw some great chemistry and met many new colleagues, some of whom I hope will become collaborators and friends.", says Eli Zysman-Colman. Snippets of his trip diary can be read here. 

Eli Zysman-Colman (University of St-Andrews)

Posted by Kathleen Too on Dec 10, 2015 5:23 PM GMT
Professor Paul Kong Thoo Lin is currently based at Robert Gordon Unviersity in Aberdeen and was one of the 2015 recipients of the SAFEA-RSC visiting researcher programme. These are brief snippets from Paul's trip diary during his sponsored visit to China. His main visit was to Prof Chaojie Wang at Henan University. Paul also managed to attend the 3rd Roche and RSC Chemistry Symposium on leading science for drug discovery and gave talks in Shanghai at the Roche Innovation Centre Shanghai and East China University of Science and Technology. 

Professor Paul Kong Thoo Lin 

Posted by Kathleen Too on Nov 24, 2015 1:18 PM GMT
Brian Cox, Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Sussex in Brighton, UK, visited Fudan University in Shanghai in October 2015 as part of the 2015 SAFEA-RSC visiting researchers programme. He also had the opportunity to visit Roche Innovation Center Shanghai and attended the 3rd Roche and RSC Chemistry symposium on leading science for drug discovery. A news story was also published on the Fudan University webpage.

Brian Cox discusses bicameral leadership and College of Pharmacy student exchange matters

October 20-26, 2015
I entered academia in November 2014 following 25 years in the pharmaceutical industry more...
Posted by Kathleen Too on Nov 18, 2015 2:33 PM GMT
The State Administration for Foreign Experts Affairs (SAFEA) is a division of the Chinese Government with which RSC has a cooperation agreement. Under this agreement the RSC and SAFEA will jointly fund researchers from the UK to visit Chinese Universities. The purpose of the visits is to stimulate collaboration between UK and Chinese institutions. They will allow the visitor to contribute their experience towards the development of excellent emerging science and build links with the Chinese Chemistry community.
In addition, the visitor will advise Chinese research groups on all aspects of presenting their research to an international audience. The programme will strengthen links between the UK and Chinese Science and between the RSC and our partners in China.
We would be very grateful if you could please send us the following information as part of your application:
•             Detailed CV containing your career progress
•             A letter detailing your objectives and what you hope to achieve in China
•             Current research interests, especially areas where you wish to collaborate
•             List of current collaborators in China (If any)
•             List of your current and past publications
•             Preferred dates to travel to China

Call for applications are open until the 21st September 2015 for RSC members based in the UK and Ireland. Visit usually lasts up to a week. The Royal Society of Chemistry covers up to £1200 for international flights and visa and local costs are usually covered by the local Chinese host universities. Prior collaboration in China is not necessary because SAFEA and the RSC will work together to find appropriate Chinese University hosts. Please email: to send your application for this programme.
Posted by Kathleen Too on Jun 16, 2015 2:08 PM BST
Malcolm Halcrow, currently Professor at the University of Leeds, was one of the recipients of the 2015 SAFEA-RSC visiting researchers travel grants. He spent 12 days in China travelling to 3 cities. Below is a summary of his trip diary.
May 10-18: Xiamen University (hosted by Professor Jun Tao)
May 18-20: Sun-Yat Sen University (hosted by Professor Ming-Liang Tong)
May 20-22: Jiaxing University (hosted Professor Xiaoming Liu)

Posted by Kathleen Too on May 27, 2015 11:05 AM BST
Professor Richard Walton (University of Warwick) took part in the 2014 SAFEA-RSC Visiting Researchers Programme, visiting China on the 17-25 September. He spent time at Yangzhou University in Jiangsu province and at the Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing. Although Richard had been to China a few times previously for conferences, this trip was a chance to visit new places and allowed time for more informal research discussions with various research groups and interaction with some students. In Yangzhou he gave a set of lectures, ranging from research seminars to graduate classes and a paper-writing workshop in addition to visiting the beautiful Slender West Lake and the Bonsai museum. In Beijing he gave a seminar to physicists on some new materials prepared by chemical methods and enjoyed the traditional Beijing hot-pot.

Posted by Kathleen Too on Oct 14, 2014 2:27 PM BST
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