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The Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences has signed a formal agreement on research collaboration with the Shanghai Institute for Cleantech Innovation and the Shanghai Advanced Research Institute (SARI) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). The agreement is a platform for joint research and education projects on any subject in chemistry. It also concerns the exchange of researchers and students, and joint valorisation projects.

Visit SARI team to HIMS
The SARI team and their hosts in April 2019. From left to right: Dr Xiaoping Li, Dr Liangshu Zhong, Dr Shiju Raveendran, Dr Ning Yan, Prof. Yuhan Sun, Prof. Gadi Rothenberg and Wei Zhang MSc. Photo: HIMS.

The signing follows several discussions and mutual visits and builds on the existing collaboration between the Heterogeneous Catalysis & Sustainable Chemistry group at the UvA, led by Prof. Gadi Rothenberg, and the CAS Key Laboratory of Low-Carbon Conversion Science and Engineering, led by Prof. Yuhan Sun. In April this year, a delegation from SARI visited the UvA, and Prof. Sun gave a lecture as a guest of the John van Geuns Foundation and the RPA Sustainable Chemistry.

Research into catalytic biomass conversion, new materials and processes for low-carbon technologies, and the transition towards a circular economy is high on the agenda of all three parties. With the view of promoting collaboration, the institutes will conduct in-depth cooperation in academic research, basic research, and applied research. The parties will organize joint research projects, lectures and symposia, exchange information, researchers and graduate students in various fields, and strive for effective progress in the application of low-carbon conversion technologies.

Similar goals

According to Rothenberg, the agreement is an important step, opening possibilities for joint projects and R&D partnerships. “The goals of the Shanghai Institute for Cleantech Innovation are very similar to those of the UvA Research Priority Area Sustainable Chemistry and the Amsterdam Green Campus. This agreement can lead to many new projects in basic and applied research. We're already sending graduate students to China as part of the RPA's Student Travel Program, where our students expand their horizons, learning and working in different environments. The availability of both lab-scale and pilot-scale facilities will enable joint innovation and valorisation projects. In Europe, innovation towards sustainable development faces barriers created by a conservative investment culture. Now, by combining the strengths of all three partners we hope to realise more scientific ideas into bona fide applications.”

Founded as a non-profit organisation for public research, the Shanghai Institute for Cleantech Innovation focuses on the generic key technologies for low-carbon R&D industries. It aims to build a service support system for low-carbon technology, get through the whole chain of the engineering research and development of low carbon technology, and realize the process from green manufacturing of catalyst or energy materials, concept verification and equipment operation, engineering simulation to industrial application. The institute is part of a research & innovation centre, which covers both basic research (funded by governments and non-profit organisations) and applied research (funded by companies and public-private partnerships). Photo: SARI.