The world’s largest radio telescope, a lunar rover on the dark side of the moon, an international ethical scandal caused by gene-editing of human embryos: the People’s Republic of China has gained unprecedented global visibility as a knowledge production hub. The country’s leadership has clearly formulated national objectives and goals to become a world leader in science and technology as well as higher education. Chinese universities and research institutions are essential organizations for top-down policies to be implemented—they pursue excellence, engage globally, and internationalize. Yet they are also embedded in national legal frameworks and political settings.
Against the backdrop of this tension, this project will examine the development trajectories of global research collaboration with China. More specifically, it aims to study the dynamics of joint research between Europe and China. The European context provides a relevant environment thanks to its long-term, diverse engagement experience. Different European countries have developed vehicles of cooperation with China, consisting of top-down political and sectoral dialogues, science diplomacy networks, as well as bottom-up initiatives, such as joint projects, laboratories, research centers, universities, programs, networks, and scientific associations. With an interest in institutional logics as an analytical framework, the project will seek answers into whether any unique characteristics to research collaboration with China exist, and if so, how these shape the dynamics of the collaboration process and its outcomes at the organizational level.