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World news roundup: 22-28 May

Image: Brian A Jackson, via Shutterstock

The latest news in global research policy and funding

In depth: Researchers have warned that links between Chinese academics and their colleagues in Western democracies are likely to face further strain in the years to come, with the Covid-19 pandemic only worsening matters.

Full story: Research links with China ‘will become more political’


Academics express solidarity with arrested Indian scholars

Staff at the UK’s Institute of Development Studies have expressed their support for Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal, two Indian scholars who have been arrested after participating in peaceful protests against India’s Citizen Amendment Act. The act inspired mass protests and has been widely criticised for allegedly targeting Muslims. The IDS says the researchers “are committed to a democratic future in India, and the way they have been treated must not go unchallenged”.

Health professionals petition G20 leaders for pandemic support

More than 40 million health professionals from 90 countries have sent a letter to G20 leaders calling for more support for public health in national coronavirus recovery packages. On 26 May they wrote that exposure of medical front-line workers to the virus “could have been at least partially mitigated by adequate investments in pandemic preparedness, public health and environmental stewardship”. The group is now urging global leaders to invest in “sustainable and innovative industries, jobs, food production and food supply chains”, which in turn will promote human health, they say.

China wants hundreds of thousands more graduates

China says it will expand the number of postgraduate students in the country by 189,000, and colleges and university graduates to 322,000. Currently the country has over 8 million annual university graduates. The ministry of education also announced on 27 May that it will also “increase opportunities for further studies” and “broaden employment channels” for college graduates. The ministry said that more than 1,630 colleges and universities have opened psychological support hotlines or platforms to provide assistance to people suffering from anxiety due to the pandemic.

Korea promotes a ‘digital new deal’ after pandemic

The Korean ministry of science has said that technology will be key to the country’s recovery from Covid-19. The statement came on 22 May as the ministry promoted its recently launched ‘digital new deal’ package of investment in jobs in 5G and artificial intelligence at a virtual meeting of experts from academia and industry. On 25 May Korea’s science minister Choi Ki-young praised Korea’s coronavirus response, saying it had “become the world’s standard and this has made Korea’s national status higher than ever”.