Dr. Boerner was one of the early visiting scientists and lecturers from western countries shortly after the Chinese reform and opening-up in 1978. In the late 1970s, he made the first visit to China for as long as two months. During the visit, he gave a series of lectures on high energy astrophysics in Beijing, Hefei and Nanjing, which greatly helped bringing Chinese astronomers to the frontiers of research at that time. In December 1979, Professor Boerner gave a series of relativistic astrophysical lectures on “Physics of pulsars and X-ray sources” in Beijing Astronomical Observatory (present National Astronomical Observatory). The lectures lasted about 5 weeks. There were over 30 Chinese astronomers listening to his lectures; most of them became famous researchers of the field in China. As one of the earliest series of lectures given by western scientists shortly after the reform and opening-up of China, they had important impacts on the researches of CAS in the field of relativistic astrophysics. In 1981, Professor Boerner invited Youyuan Zhou (now Member of CAS) and Qibin Li (former Director of Beijing Astronomical Observatory) to visit Max-Planck Institute of Astrophysics for one year. Since then, he has visited China frequently (about one month per year) and invited many Chinese researchers to visit Germany. As the German co-chair, Professor Boerner organized from the 1st to the 7th China-Germany series of symposia on relativistic astrophysics (from 1982 to 2004, once every 3 years) and the 1st to the 7th China-Germany workshops on galaxy formation and cosmology (from 1992 to 2006, once every 2 years). These symposia and workshops have greatly boosted the collaboration between CAS and German researchers. Over 30 years, Professor Boerner has worked restlessly to foster the cooperation between German and Chinese astronomers. He has helped almost 3 generations of Chinese astronomers and made great contributions to promoting them.
In order to encourage excellent young Chinese scientists who once studied or worked in Max-Planck Institutes to come back to Chinese institutes and to strengthen the bilateral collaborations, in the 1990s, Professor Boerner creatively proposed to establish the Max-Planck Partner Groups (MPPGs) in CAS institutes, which has resulted in setting up more than 20 MPPGs in almost all disciplines. Most of the MPPGs are extremely successful. As the German partner, Prof. Boerner helped to establish the first MPPG in Shanghai Astronomical Observatory in 2000, which has been very successful. In 2005, he helped to establish the second MPPG in Shanghai Astronomical Observatory. The great success achieved by the astrophysical MPPGs has enormously raised the standards of research in galaxy formation and cosmology at Shanghai Astronomical Observatory and in China, and has produced significant international influences in this field.