U.S.-China: Thirty Years of Science and Technology Cooperation

Fact Sheet
Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs
Washington, DC
October 15, 2009


Date: 10/15/2009 Description: Senior U.S. and Chinese officials recognize 30 years of bilateral science and technology collaboration at opening session of Joint Commission Meetings held on October 15 at the National Academies of Science in Washington D.C. (From left to right: Chinese Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong, Chinese Minister of Science and Technology Wan Gang, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy Dr. John Holdren, Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs Dr. Kerri-Ann Jones and President of the National Academy of Sciences Dr. Ralph Cicerone.). State Dept Image

On January 31, 1979, U.S. President Jimmy Carter and China’s leader Deng Xiaoping signed the U.S.-China Science Agreement on Science and Technology Cooperation. The U.S.-China Science and Technology Agreement provides a framework for scientific and technological research and exchanges. Some of the accomplishments achieved under the Agreement over the past 30 years include the following:

  • The presence of a China Centers for Disease Control and Prevention official at the U.S. CDC headquarters in Atlanta, in addition to dozens of U.S. CDC staff resident in China, has ensured that accurate information about the influenza A/H1N1 outbreak has been, and continues to be, shared quickly and effectively. (2009)
  • Argonne National Laboratory, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Chinese Academy of Sciences worked with U.S. and Chinese universities to model regional and local contributors to air quality, providing information to Beijing city officials relevant to plans to improve conditions for athletes and spectators at the 2008 Summer Olympics. (2008)
  • U.S. Geological Survey monitored movements of waterfowl in China marked with satellite-transmitters to understand the role of waterfowl movements in the spread of avian influenza. (2007)
  • The U.S. National Institutes of Health awarded $14.8 million over five years to the Chinese Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for expansion of China's research activities in HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and vaccine development. (2002-2007)
  • U.S. cooperation with China on HIV/AIDS and Emerging Infectious Diseases has led to high-level exchanges and activities. The U.S. National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention formed a collaborative partnership to develop a $30 million dollar public-private partnership program with Merck to combat HIV/AIDS in Yunnan and Guangxi Provinces. The National Institutes of Health also collaborated with various non-governmental organizations to establish a Memorandum of Understanding on Emerging and Infectious Diseases. (2002)
  • Cooperation under the 1998 Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Technologies agreement has improved safety and emergency management capabilities within China's nuclear sector, while providing a more transparent view of an industry that until recently was closed to outsiders. The Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Technologies agreement also laid the foundation for commercial and economic successes currently enjoyed by U.S. nuclear firms operating in China. (1998-present)
  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration established a joint working group with China’s State Oceanic Administration to study climate variability. (1997-present)
  • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Beijing Medical University collaborated to study child health issues, such as combating birth defects, disabilities, and health hazards caused by environmental factors. (1991-present)
  • In the area of marine resources, data exchange relating to climate has helped the U.S. and Chinese governments to look at improved predictive models for climate change. (1989-present)
  • The Beijing Electron Positron Collider is an example of a successful collaborative effort between the U.S. and China in the area of High Energy Physics. The program has helped save taxpayer dollars by providing training and research at the Institute for High Energy Physics in China for more than 100 American physicists and 50 Ph.D.s. Helping China develop world-class science laboratories with unique capabilities benefits both the Chinese and American scientific communities. (1984-present)
  • The U.S. Geological Survey and the China Earthquake Administration established a China Digital Seismology Network in 1983 (operational in 1987) to supplement seismic monitoring in China. (1983-present)
  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration studied marine sedimentation dynamics in the outflow of the Yangtze River, key for adapting commercial shipping access and controlling floods in the Yangtze Delta. (early 1980s)