US extends China science pact: What it means for research

The United States government has extended for six months a key symbolic agreement to cooperate with China in science and technology. The agreement was due to expire on 27 August, and its short-term extension has revived researchers’ hopes that the 44-year-old pact will continue, writes Natasha Gilbert and Gemma Conroy for Nature.

The agreement does not provide research funding. Rather, it serves as an umbrella agreement to encourage collaboration and goodwill between US and Chinese government agencies, universities and institutions doing research in agriculture, energy, health, the environment and other fields. The extension means that, for now, research will continue as normal. The non-binding agreement was first signed in 1979 and, since then, has been renewed every five years. The new extension stops short of a full renewal, which some scientists worry is now in jeopardy. Without the agreement, research cooperation and programmes between the two governments could flounder, some experts warn.

The extension “is not as good as a renewal”, says Denis Simon, a researcher in global business and technology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “But it’s a good start. It says the US wants to stay connected.”
Full report on the Nature site