Conference on the Chinese national innovation and techno-industrial eco-systems

05 - 06 Sep 2023


On September 5th and 6th, we held a Conference on the Chinese National Innovation and Techno-Industrial Eco-Systems, jointly organized by the University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC) and the Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS). 

China has embarked on a program of unprecedented ambition to manage the entire innovation chain.  Seeking to steer outcomes, the Chinese government is increasingly organizing and coordinating activities that stretch from basic research to final applications in industry and defense. This implies interventions in successive specific links of the innovation chain, links that have in the past generally been analyzed separately in terms of either the national innovation system or the techno-industrial system. Our event explores China’s approach and its implications for European policy makers and businesses.

During the conference, leading experts in their fields addressed key questions, such as: 

  • How are the key institutional features and governance regimes of the Chinese national innovation and techno-industrial eco-systems changing?  How have they evolved since the early 2010s when Xi Jinping came to power? 
  • In what ways are the Chinese innovation and techno-industrial eco-systems becoming increasingly connected and engaged with each other?
  • What are the concrete implications of the “New Whole-of-Nation System” and the “Modern Industrial System” currently being advocated? 
  • How integrated are the Chinese innovation and techno-industrial eco-systems with the outside world? What are the prospects for these linkages in an era of great power competition? 
  • How are the civilian, dual-use, and defense components of the innovation and techno-industrial systems related to each other? Where in the spectrum between military-civil separation and integration does the Chinese innovation and techno-industrial systems fall? 
  • What is the role and balance between the state and market forces? How successfully can China graft increased government direction onto the vibrant, market-based economy that had developed over the previous thirty years? 

You can find the agenda here.

The conference was not open to public, however Bettina Stark-Watzinger, German Federal Minister of Education and Research held a key-note speech that was streamed live on September 5th, from 7 to 8 p.m. (CEST). You can watch the live stream here: 

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