Governing Scientific Accountability in China

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Call for Participants: UK-China Interdisciplinary Workshop for Early Career Researchers

6 May 2019


UK-China Interdisciplinary Workshop for Early Career Researchers

Promoting Social Embeddedness of New Biotechnologies

Beijing, China

14-16 October, 2019

China is the UK's key partner and co-funder in the biosciences. Collaborative projects with China have substantially shaped policy and professional norms in the research and application of biotechnologies. Yet a number of empirical studies have highlighted that a lack of public engagement in China, together with limited knowledge of Chinese scientific culture, have often cast a shadow on the perceived public accountability towards research carried out in, and with, China. This interdisciplinary workshop, jointly funded by the Newton Fund and the National Natural Science Foundation of China, will bring together 40 funded participants (20 from each country). It will empower a new generation of bioscientists and social scientists from both China and the UK to critically and creatively examine what effective public engagement entails and cultivate a sense of mutual understanding and camaraderie in shaping future governance of the biosciences. In particular, through interactive activities and knowledge sharing, this workshop is focused on delivering the following three aims:

Aim 1: To empower early career professionals in both the biosciences and related areas (e.g. PE, science policy and scientific journalism) with confidence and key skills to actively shape, respond and steer public dialogues of biosciences in an age of intensified transnational exchanges.

Aim 2: To create an interdisciplinary research community for early career researchers to develop practical, effective and socially engaged bioscience based projects.

Aim 3: To co-develop action-plans at both institutional and cross-institutional (including transnational) level to incentivise, facilitate and support effective public engagement of the biosciences.

The workshop is coordinated by Dr. Joy Zhang (University of Kent) and Prof. Xian-En Zhang (Chinese Academy of Sciences, former Director General of Basic Research in China), with major contributions from Prof. Mark Smales (University of Kent), Director Paul Manners (National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement, UK), Prof. Lu Gao (Chinese Academy of Sciences) and Prof. Honglin Li (China Research Institute of Science Popularization). 

This is an invitation for bioscience or relevant social science researchers based in the UK who are within 10 years of receiving their PhD (or with equivalent work experience) to apply to participate in this workshop. All travel (including visa), accommodation and meal expenses will be covered by the Newton Fund Researcher Links programme. Travel and medical insurance are not covered by the British Council.

Application and Deadline

UK-based applicants need to submit the following 2 documents to: by 16 June 2019. 

  1. A one-page CV (including name, contact details, institutional affiliation, field of expertise, and length of work experience)
  2. A short statement on how you will contribute to the discussion and what you see as the challenges in securing public trust in and/or facilitating social uptake of new biosciences (300-word max).

Notification of results:  Applicants will be notified on the outcome of their application by e-mail by 1 July 2019. 






This work was supported by a Researcher Links grant, ID 2018-RLWK10-10359, under the UK-China Research and Innovation Partnership Fund. The grant is funded by the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and National Natural Science Foundation of China and delivered by the British Council. For further information, please visit

Telephone: +44(0)1227 827574 or email us

SSPSSR, Faculty of Social Sciences, Cornwallis North East, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NF

Last Updated: 03/02/2015

Image by Steve Jurvetson