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Research Funding Opportunities in China

Agencies of the Chinese national government support science and technology research, including research conducted by US citizens in collaboration with Chinese researchers.  Most of UK’s partners in China wish to promote collaborations with the United States and would welcome the development of joint projects eligible for Chinese government funding.   Chinese government support is available for short-term visits, workshops and seminars, and research activities.  Research is expected to take place in China.  Grants ordinarily cannot be used to support activities in the United States. The principal funding agencies for collaborative ventures in China are:

National Natural Science Foundation of China
Chinese Academy of Sciences
Ministry of Science and Technology


National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC)

Program descriptions:

  • General Program 
    Fields include mathematical and physical sciences, chemical sciences, life sciences, earth sciences, engineering and materials science, information sciences, management sciences, and medical sciences.  
  • Major Research Plan  
    This program funds groups of projects with similar objectives, in order to achieve breakthroughs in key fields.  The document describes current funding priorities (e.g., Integrated Research on the Eco-Hydrological Process in Heihe Basin, Single Quantum State Detection and Its Interactions, Fuel Proliferation and Transmutation in Advanced Nuclear Fission Energy, …)
  • Programs of Joint Funds 
    These are programs jointly funded by NSFC and other Chinese entities – research institutes, government ministries, or provincial governments. 

Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)

Descriptions of the fellowship and cooperative programs:

  • Download a PDF here that describes the Einstein Professorship (funds one- or two-week visits to China), Visiting Professorships for Senior International Scientists (funds collaborative research in China for two to twelve months), and Fellowships for Young International Scientists (funds cooperative research in China for one year). 

Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST)

The principal MoST programs permit U.S. co-PIs.  Unfortunately, almost all of the information on the MoST web site is in Chinese and has not been translated into English. 

Program descriptions:

  • National High Tech Research and Development Program / 863 Program 
    Fields include information technology, biotechnology and medical technology, new materials technology, advanced manufacturing technology, advanced energy technologies, resources and environmental technology, marine technology, modern agricultural technology, modern transportation technology, earth observation and navigation technology, and other areas.  
  • National Key Technologies R&D Program 
    Fields include energy, resources, environment, agriculture, materials, manufacturing, transportation, IT, population and health, urban development, public safety, and other areas.   
  • National Science and Technology Major Projects 
    Fields include electronic devices, integrated circuit manufacturing technology, broadband wireless mobile networks, advanced digital control machines and fundamental manufacturing equipment, waste water control and treatment, new drug development, oil, gas, and coal development, and other areas.  Note that funding for some research areas in the program  – HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, and military applications – is available only to Chinese citizens. 
  • Agriculture Science and Technology Achievement Transformation Fund 
    Fields include seed industry, planting and breeding, processing, warehousing, and logistics, agricultural equipment and facilities, biomass energy and bio-based materials, forest resource development and forest products processing, agricultural ecology and rural environmental protection, plant and animal diseases and other areas.  
  • National Key New Product Plan 
    Fields include energy saving, environmental protection, IT, biotech, high-end device manufacturing, energy, and other areas.   

Several other Chinese agencies promote international cooperation, but do not have grant programs that specifically target U.S. researchers (note that some information on the English web sites listed below is very dated).  The agencies include:


U.S. government agencies with programs related to China:

National Institutes of Health Fogarty International Center

National Science Foundation Office of International Science and Engineering