The China-Portugal STARLab under the Belt and Road Initiative, a joint laboratory focusing on integrated scientific and technological cooperation in space and sea, kicked off on December 7 in Shanghai.
The STARLab under the Belt and Road Initiative is led by the Innovation Academy for Microsatellites (IAMCAS) of Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the Foundation for Science and Technology Portugal (FCT).
The joint lab aims to build a scientific and technological innovation platform in space and sea research between China and Portugal, and respond to major issues such as global oceans and climate.
More than 60 scientists from China and Portugal attended the kick-off workshop online and offline.
"The joint laboratory was born in an important historical period of continuous development of China-Portugal friendly relations," said WANG Zhigang, Minister of China’s Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), in his opening remarks for the workshop.
Portugal is the first Atlantic European country to sign The MOU on Belt and Road cooperation with China, and the first European country to officially establish a blue partnership with China as well.
In December of 2018, the China-Portugal STARLab was written in the Joint Declaration between the People’s Republic of China and the Portuguese Republic, witnessed by both President XI Jinping and Prime Minister Costa.
STARLab was upgraded to CAS-FCT in November of 2019, to enhance collaboration on space and sea research between Chinese and Portuguese, according to HU Haiying, deputy director of IAMCAS.
The lab became the third batch of MOST's joint Laboratories under construction in August 2021, recommended by the Bureau of International Cooperation of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
“We will continue supporting the collaboration between two countries on space and sea, especially the construction and development of the STARLab in Portugal," said CHEN Xilin, director of the Bureau.
Kick-off of the workshop marks a new stage of development for the joint laboratory.
"Portuguese and Chinese research institutes or universities will be warmly welcomed joining this project and promoting the influence of China-Portugal STARLab under the Belt and Road Initiative joint laboratory in the world," said José Paulo Esperança, vice-chairman of FCT.
The joint laboratory targets to solve the development needs of blue economy, cultivating international scientific plans, and provide scientific and technological support for promoting high-quality development of the Belt and Road Initiative.
The joint laboratory reflects the complementary advantages of scientific and technological resources between China and Portugal.
"Deep Sea to Deep Space, Deep Data to Deep Mind, to develop, demonstrate and implement new technologies for Deep Sea to Deep Space that will enable new systems for earth observation and space exploration," said WANG Fan, director of the Institute of Oceanology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
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