First-ever Marie Curie alumni meeting in China, 28 April, EU Delegation!

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The first Marie (Skłodowska) Curie alumni meeting took place in Beijing on 28 April 2016. The casual lunch meet-up gathered several recipients of this prestigious EU funding, and established the first step towards networking activities for Marie Curie fellows in China.

The meeting was kicked off with by Mr Marcin Grabiec, the Education Counsellor at the EU Delegation. Mr Grabiec stressed the importance of mobility in EU-China relationship. In his welcome remarks, he noted the importance of Chinese participation in the Marie Curie programmes, and pointed out at the overall ongoing increase in numbers of student and researchers' exchanges. He also stressed the positive impact of researchers' mobility in people-to-people exchanges and emphasized the importance of networks. He encouraged the attendees to maintain their link to Europe.

Ms Alexandra Lehmann, the Science and Technology section's attaché, continued the welcome session by stressing the importance of research and innovation in the partnership between EU and China. She underlined the efforts that exist on a political level to foster growing research ties between China and Europe.

Next, Ms Andrea Střelcová, the EURAXESS China representative, addressed the meeting's attendees with a brief introduction of this EU Commission initiative. It's precisely the goal of EURAXESS to support like-minded researchers who have a working experience in Europe and make their Sino-European networks grow.

Ms Střelcová also passed a message to the fellows from the Marie Curie Alumni Association in Europe, and briefed the participants about the ongoing network activities that are carried out by EURAXESS, EU Delegation as well as independently by Chinese and China based Marie Curie fellows themselves.

Attending Marie Curie researchers from Beijing, Nanjing, Hefei and Europe, spanned different fields from gender studies, engineering, mathematics and neurobiology and included an equal balance of female and male researchers at different stages of their career - post-doc, associate professors and professors.

Finally, Mr. Lu Dai, Vice President of NorAlumni (Norwegian Alumni Association of students and researchers) introduced an example of a successful alumni network in China and pointed out at their activities in China - connecting Norway and China.

After the greeting part of the meeting, the group moved over to the nearby Italian restaurant Assaggi and continue the discussions over delicious European-styled lunch.

Thanks attendees for a pleasant casual lunch that hopefully kicked off a ground for future similar meetings in Beijing, Shanghai or elsewhere in China.

Attending researchers - only a small sample of all China-based Marie Curie fellows - left knowing each other better, and we believe that such a meeting will be repeated again.

In Framework Programme 7 (2007-2014) there were 970 fellowships awarded to Chinese nationals, with 21 European researchers coming into China. When counting staff exchanges, in total more than than 3000 participating researchers took part in Marie Curie actions, and more than 300 Chinese organisations participated.

The goal of yesterday's meeting was to create an informal environment and help build connections among researchers who all share the experience created by the prestigious EU funding scheme, named after the world-famous Polish-French double Nobel prize winner. We hope that the first, baby step was made toward building an active, more robust Marie (Skłodowska) Curie network in China. Our networking initiative will also continue online, in a newly-created WeChat group that has already gathered 80 researchers - all current or former Chinese or China-based Marie Curie (back in China or still in Europe).

EURAXESS wants to raise awareness for Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions in China as well as other European programmes that foster mobility of researchers. All Marie Curie fellows who came yesterday are experienced, top-notch researchers in their field who connect Europe and China. We were very honoured to meet you all!

This event-report can be downloaded by clicking the attached pdf.