Chinese, Norwegian ocean-research universities sign alliance
A new alliance between leading ocean- and fishing-focused universities in China and Norway aims to share research on mariculture.
The China-Norway Marine University Consortium Alliance is comprised of a dozen Chinese universities including China Ocean University, Dalian Ocean University, Zhongshan University, and Shanghai Ocean University, home to a research team that advises the national government on distant-water fishing operations. On the Norwegian side, the University of Bergen, Nord University, the University of Oslo, and the University of Troms, which styles itself the Arctic University of Norway, are participants.
The alliance held its inaugural meeting in mid-October online and in Qingdao, where Norwegian diplomats were in attendance. Speaking at the meeting was Communist Party Secretary of the China Ocean University Tian Hui, who said the alliance will seek opportunities through the United Nations’ goal to promote ocean sustainability during the 10-year period from 2021 to 2030.
The academic alliance is another indication of increased integration between Norway and China after years-long tensions between the two countries, caused by the 2010 awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, who died in 2017. In recent years, China’s shipyards have become suppliers of Norwegian salmon-farming infrastructure, including Nordlaks’ Havfarm offshore pen, built at the CIMC Raffles yard in Yantai.
Integration in the seafood marketplace continues to grow between the two countries. China’s growing demand for salmon has been a major market opportunity for Norwegian seafood firms, some of which have also signed distribution agreements with Chinese partners. And China’s ambition to produce its own salmon has drawn the interest of Norwegian investors.
However, China’s pursuit of increased cooperation with foreign universities has created issues over academic freedom in several Western countries, though China is a lucrative source of students for many European and U.S. campuses.
Another potential area of cooperation is Arctic exploration, which has become a priority of Chinese marine research in recent years.
Photo courtesy of China International Cooperation and Exchange Office