The Chinese Academy of Sciences President’s International Fellowship Initiative Program (CAS PIFI) fills an important role in catalyzing international research collaborations. My visit this year to three CAS institutes served to both move existing contacts to a level of more solidified and concrete research activities, and also facilitated many new contacts.
Combining the skills and competencies of my research group and ongoing network/programs with those of the really progressive and curious researchers at the Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry (GIG), CAS, the Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research (ITP), CAS and the Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources (NIEER), CAS, means that together we now have good opportunities to make substantial progress on two grand challenges in current climate change research: the interactions between air pollution and climate change in East and South Asia, as well as greenhouse gas releases from thawing permafrost and collapsing methane hydrates in both the Third Pole and the Arctic (a poorly constrained enhancing feedback between carbon – climate change). We have now agreed to work together long-term in a concept linking the Third Pole to the Arctic (all the way to the North Pole).
The deepened contacts with research colleagues at CAS also mean on a personal level an appreciated and deepened understanding of China and Chinese culture: good friends, good food and improved table-tennis skills!