BioGovernance Common Concluding Forum-2

BioGovernance Commons is a transnational initiative jointly convened by the GSEJ Director Joy Y. Zhang, along with Kathleen M. Vogel (US), Sonia Ben Ouagrham-Gormley (US) and Ruipeng Lei (China). From September 2021, the initiative organized monthly online discussion groups that focused on specific areas of life science governance. The aim was to host a trusted forum where researchers inside and outside China could meet regularly, under the motto ‘sharing perspectives on shared challenges.’ (Detail see this article published in Issues in Science and Technology)

The online format was initially proposed in response to travel restrictions during the COVID pandemic. In the past 12 months, the initiative received support from scientific and social scientific professionals in Brazil, China, Italy, Greece, the UK and the US. As the world is healing from the pandemic, the hope is that BioGovernance Commons will continue through future in-person meetings and can inspire similar endeavors in building mutual understanding and confidence across different (cultural or professional) communities.

To bring its online activities to a close, there are two concluding online forums: one is a US-China dialogue on ‘How to Build Better Global Governance of Science,’ (US Eastern Standard Time: 20:00-23:00 August 24, 2022, chaired by Kathleen M. Vogel) the other one is EU-China dialogue on ‘How to Make “the China Story” More Informative’ (8am British Standard Time, September 6, 2022, chaired by Joy Y. Zhang).

Agendas of the second forums is as follows, if you are interested in attending, please email:


Forum 2: How to Make the “China Story” of Science and Innovation More Informative: An EU-China Dialogue

Beijing Time: 15:00-18:00 September 6, 2022; British Summer Time: 8:00-11:00 September 6, 2022; Central European Summer Time: 9:00-12:00 September 6, 2022

Chaired by Joy Y Zhang (Founding Director, Centre for Global Science and Epistemic Justice, University of Kent)

The world would undoubtedly benefit from a better understanding of China’s contemporary scene on research and innovation. Both at the social and political levels, China, too, has increasingly recognised the importance of ‘effectively communicating the China story’ (jianghao zhongguo gushi). However, circulating more ‘stories’ does not necessarily make the audience better informed. To differentiate and uphold meaningful communication from propaganda requires not only engagement skills, but also cultural-political knowledge and experience. At times, a mismatch between the narrative to be conveyed and basic facts to be clarified could lead to further frustration and distrust from both sides. In other words, while Chinese stakeholders may have stories to tell, these narratives may not always address the knowledge gap that non-Chinese audience want or need to know.

In this forum, we bring together a group of early- and mid-career academics in China who have been contributing to the ‘BioGovernance Commons’ initiative over the past year and a group of leading European academics who have promoted meaningful scientific and regulatory dialogues with China. In particular, we ask the China-based participants to share their personal insights on the opportunities and challenges in articulating the ‘China stories’ of the scientific research they are most familiar with. For example, what are the China stories that they feel are under-represented or misconstrued? What is needed to overcome such under-representation? We ask the non-China-based participants to share their views on what is needed for the ‘China story’ of science and technology to be more informative to a global audience. For example, what are the gaps of knowledge that are often ignored? What are the communicative channels that could be further explored? Who could be new science diplomats that may bridge cultural and political divides?

To make the China story of science and innovation more informative is to help promote global understanding of China. We emphasise that ‘understanding’ does not necessarily lead to agreement, but it is a precondition for constructive and accountable collaboration.

British Standard Time Speakers
8:00 – Joy Y. Zhang: Chair Welcome

Opening remark – Ting Wang, Director of the China Research Institute for Science Popularization,Executive Vice President of the China Science Writers Association

8:15 – Anna L. Ahlers, Head of the Lise Meitner Research Group “China in the Global System of Science” at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science
8:26 – Brian Salter, Professor of Politics and Director of the Global Biopolitics Research Centre, Department of Political Economy, King’s College London
8:37 – Haidan Chen, Associate Professor, Department of Medical Ethics and Law, Peking University
8:48 – Li Du, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Macau
9:00 – Mark Smales, Professor of Industrial Biotechnology, University of Kent
9:11 – Jesus Gamiz, Communications Director at the Spain China Council Foundation
9:22 – Zhimin Zhang, Deputy Director of Popular Science Writing Research Division of China Research Institute for Science Popularization, Deputy Secretary General of China Science Writers Association
9:33 – Dapeng Wang, Associate Professor of the China Research Institute for Science Popularization,
9:45 – Arron van Rompaey, Council Member and Project Coordinator for the Society for Anglo-Chinese Understanding 
9:57 – Lu Gao, Associate Professor of Institute for the History of Natural Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences
10:08 – James Keeley, China analyst and project manager specialising in agricultural technology and innovation
10:19 – Di Zhang, Associate Professor of Bioethics, Chinese Academy of Medical Science & Peking Union Medical College
10:30-11:00 Group Discussion