Experts and officials attending Sunday’s third session of the Donghu Science Symposium in Wuhan, Hubei province, called for more international cooperation on technological innovation — particularly in medical science — to support development of the Belt and Road Initiative.
▲The third session of the Donghu Science Symposium is held in Wuhan, Hubei province, on Sunday.
Organized by the Wuhan Institute of Industrial Innovation and Development, or WHIIID, the Institute for Biological Research Sinisa Stankovic at the University of Belgrade in Serbia, aka IBISS, and the Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the symposium brought together industry experts and scholars from countries and regions including Serbia, Hungary, Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Albania. Also in attendance were representatives from the Alliance of National and International Science Organizations for the Belt and Road Regions and partners working with the WHIIID to explore international innovation paths and models.
▲Maja Stefanovic, Serbian Ambassador to China, visiting WHIIID.
In the morning of that day, the Ambassador of Serbia to China, Maja Stefanovic visited WHIIID and had a discussion with Li Xiling, president of the institute, and the heads of various innovation units to discuss the possibilities of cooperation in multiple fields.
▲Scholars and experts from home and abroad attend the symposium.
Tibor Kurtan, a professor at the University of Debrecen in Hungary, shared his team’s latest research results based on natural products and new drug discovery. In addition to local researchers in Hungary, Kurtan said there are many Chinese colleagues contributing to the team’s efforts, which reinforces long-term respect and friendship.
Marina Sokovic, Serbia’s assistant minister of science, technological development and innovation, said China and Serbia have a history of cooperation that dates back more than a century, and predicted their collaboration will reach new heights.
“Although we come from different cultures, we can establish closer connections through exchanges, visits and other means in the fields of science and technology,” she said. “We are looking forward to deeper cooperation with the Wuhan institute to explore better paths and methods to promote the landing of technologies and the commercialization of achievements, and to continuously expand the scope of scientific and technological cooperation.”
In conjunction with the symposium, the Institute of Natural Products and New Drug Discovery of WHIIID was evaluated and reviewed by experts. Based on the China-Serbia Natural Products and New Drug Discovery Joint Laboratory, the new institute is established to explore a cross-region innovation cooperation mechanism by leveraging the respective advantages of the WHIIID, the IBISS and Shanghai’s Materia Medica.
▲Ermias Dagne Haile, Academician of African Academy of Sciences and Academy of Sciences of Developing Countries delivering a speech at the 3rd Session of the Donghu Science Symposium.
The Institute of Natural Products and New Drug Discovery boasts a strong research and development team with rich experience, a leading scientific innovation platform and a pragmatic and stable product R&D strategy, said Ye Yang, Party secretary and deputy head of the Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Based on the China-Serbia joint laboratory, the institute will focus on major chronic diseases, newly emerging viral infectious diseases and combating antibiotic resistance mechanisms to continuously cultivate and incubate research project results in the cooperation between China and Serbia.
“The institute is expected to promote the commercialization of one or two bulk drugs within two years, and to promote one or two major disease treatment drugs into clinical research,” Ye said.
In the presence of the Serbian Ambassador to China, Maja Stefanovic, the WHIIID Joint Innovation Center in Belgrade was inaugurated in Wuhan. The center, which is the WHIIID’s first jointly established innovation center in collaboration with a foreign partner, has adopted the operation models of twin centers based in Wuhan and Belgrade. They complement each other by focusing on the advantages of the two countries and carrying out in-depth cooperation around the key industries to jointly build an innovation and entrepreneurship hub and an industrial incubation platform to attract high-level talents.
▲Marina Sokovic, Assistant Minister, Ministry of Science and Technology Development and Innovation of Serbia and Li Xiling, President of WHIIID, jointly inaugurating the WHIIID Joint Innovation Center in Belgrade.
“In Wuhan, we will turn the joint innovation center into a bridgehead for cooperation between Central China and Europe. While in Belgrade, we will introduce China’s specialized construction and operation institutions and park development models to jointly build a distinctive innovation park,” an official of the WHIIID said.
As an agricultural and mineral powerhouse, Serbia boasts a solid foundation for agricultural production, as well as automobile and machinery manufacturing. In recent years, it has expanded its layout in industries such as electronics and electronic information while building national-level innovation parks, such as the Serbian national bio-innovation center.
▲Maja Stefanovic, Serbian Ambassador to China, and delegation visiting the WHIIID Institute of Human Factors Engineering.
Established in June 2021, the WHIIID has cooperated with leading universities, research institutions and companies to establish 15 high-level research institutes, 30 business joint venture innovation centers and six public service platforms.
The institute’s nano-antibody industry platform and biomedical materials and device research division have collaborated with countries involved in the BRI to develop related products, which are planned to be promoted to the entire European market.
“Businesses and institutions that have already formed partnerships with the institute are looking forward to using the enclave as a bridge to expand cooperation with Serbia and Europe,” the official said, noting the institute “is a new platform that aggregates and allocates innovative resources in Wuhan, Hubei province, and in an even larger area.”
▲Presentation on the innovative modes of commercialization of scientific and technological achievements of WHIIID.
“By fully activating innovation factors and unleashing innovation potential, the Wuhan-style path to scientific and technological achievement transformation will generate more ‘chemical reactions’, both domestically and internationally, helping the WHIIID accelerate the construction of a first-class, internationally renowned new R&D institution in China,” the official added.