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20 years of LIAMA

The Sino-European Laboratory in Computer Science, Automation and Applied Mathematics (LIAMA) celebrated its 20th birthday on 11 and 12 July in Beijing, in the presence of Antoine Petit. On this occasion its founder members, CASIA (Institute of Automation of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)), the Dutch national research institute CWI (Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica) and Inria signed a renewal of their agreement, giving new impetus to this historic and successful partnership.

LIAMA, Inria's historic partnership in Asia

The Sino-European Laboratory in Computer Science, Automation and Applied Mathematics (LIAMA) is a research centre created jointly by Inria and CASIA in January 1997. It was established as a consortium from 2008 onwards, and its members now include European and Chinese partners (research organisations, universities, industrialists). In 2012, the inclusion of a Shanghai member within the consortium enabled the expansion of its partners to this region of China. Indeed, the scalable nature of the laboratory's structure enables it to open up to new consortium partners.
This historic partnership not only forms the first joint scientific laboratory created between France and China, but also the first 'Inria International Lab' established abroad. LIAMA is therefore both a historic partnership between its founder members and a model of scientific cooperation between Europe and Asia.

20 years of research

LIAMA carries out research, training and transfer projects. The researchers taking part in this laboratory collaborate on research projects focusing on software, multimedia interpretation and interaction, the development of medical imaging and the modelling of environmental questions. Digital tools have been developed for numerous applications, from cryptography to modelling plant growth to the analysis of the brain, among others. Each research project is a cooperation between European and Chinese researchers, and is hosted by a partner institution in China. 
Over the course of these 20 years of collaboration, more than 500 scientists and researchers have participated in university exchanges and no fewer than 13 projects have been created.

Strengthened cooperation

During this celebration, the three founder members of the consortium signed an agreement to increase cooperation in LIAMA's key research fields, in the presence of Mr Zhang Jie, vice-president of the CAS, as well as His Excellency Jean-Maurice Ripert, French ambassador to China and His Excellency Paul Menkveld, Dutch ambassador to China.

The consortium undertakes to facilitate collaborations between China and Europe in the field of the digital sciences. Inria and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) thus signed an agreement in 2017 to support new research projects that will be attached to LIAMA. This year, two prizewinners were selected: Pierre-Louis Curien "Verification, Interaction and Proofs - VIP" (PIR2 team) and François Brémond "Facial expression recognition with application in health monitoring - FER4HM" (STARS team). In this context, one of the priorities of the 2018 call for projects of the Associate Teams programme is to support Chinese-French projects, with a view to increasing their number within LIAMA. 

Antoine Petit took advantage of his presence in Beijing to participate - on the fringe of this event - in a conference and debate on the scientific challenges and applications of artificial intelligence in France and China before an audience of researchers and entrepreneurs, and to visit the innovation park in Zhongguancun. These events underline the importance attached by the two countries to scientific cooperation between France and China, thereby opening up great prospects for future collaborations established on solid foundations between the respective scientific communities.

Keywords: LIAMA Strategic partnerships International partnerships