Scientific decoupling from China will be costly: Dutch expert
A strict ban on China will cost the Netherlands "dearly in science," a Dutch expert has warned.
The Netherlands' international position in technology and innovation will be seriously damaged by "cutting our scientific links with China on a large scale," said Ingrid D'Hooghe, coordinator and senior researcher at the Clingendael China Centre, a Dutch think tank, in an article published on the think tank's website.
"In addition, it will further restrict our understanding of developments in China, which is a key economic, political and scientific player that we cannot ignore," she said.
"However complex it may be, we need scientific cooperation with China," said the expert, adding that "now more than ever we need knowledge about and cooperation with China. Decoupling is therefore the worst of all options for scientific cooperation."
D'Hooghe described China as "a scientific powerhouse and a leading player" in many fields such as biotechnology, 5G and 6G, nano-materials and electric batteries.
She also noted that China's investment in scientific research ranks second in the world, and it has a large number of talents in the field of natural sciences.
"Ignoring or excluding these Chinese scientists means that we will increasingly come to lag behind in technological sectors," D'Hooghe said.
Joint research in areas where China has a lot of knowledge and experience to offer, such as cancer treatment, personalized medicines and circular economy and sustainability, contributes to not only Dutch scientific progress but also to social welfare, she said.
In other areas, it is vital to bring together Chinese and Dutch high-quality knowledge to address global challenges on a large scale such as environment and food safety, the expert said.
Without scientific cooperation with China, D'Hooghe concluded, "the prospects for solving societal and global problems and for the Dutch leading position in science and technology may quickly take a turn for the worse."