In May 2004, DFG and CAS signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to jointly support the ITP. The MOU has also laid a solid foundation for multidisciplinary cooperation concerning the Tibetan Plateau research afterwards. For future planning and sustainable development of the Sino-German joint study of the Tibetan Plateau and its surrounding regions, a “think tank” and exchange platform is needed, consisting of leading Chinese and German scientists from various disciplines. Thus, a workshop between Chinese and German scientists has been proposed. So far, six workshops have been held in the past six years, with ITP and its German collaborators being an alternative host for the Sino-German workshop. The 7th workshop has been proposed in Hamburg in March, 2011, and is in the preparing phase.
In retrospect, the 1st Sino-German workshop kicked off in Beijing in August, 2004, plotting the general cooperative plans between Chinese and German partners. Thanks to the momentum thereafter, both sides have conducted effective research in the study of plateau uplift, environmental evolution and other related aspects.
The 2nd workshop (financed by the Sino-German Center) was held in Beijing and Lhasa consecutively, clarifying the cooperation details between scientists on both sides, and witnessing the note-exchange on some key scientific issues, e.g., evolution of plateau geodynamics, plateau environmental change, Quaternary environment and climate, and modern climate on the plateau. The joint scientific expedition thereafter championed the largest one in the past two decades.
The 3rd Sino-German workshop in Ettal, Germany, in 2006, promoted mutual understanding between the two sides, and provided a novel common ground to share. Leading scientists of each subject reported on their field expedition and lab analysis results since cooperation.
During the 4th workshop in Kunming 2007, plateau geology and geomorphological evolution, together with climate and environmental change on the Tibetan Plateau since the late Quaternary were subjected to lively and extensive discussion. Plateau cryosphere and hydrological studies were also addressed, witnessing appreciable results; scientists from both Chinese and German sides presented their achievements and looked ahead into potential scientific cooperation areas for the coming decade.
The 5th Sino-German workshop in Tübingen 2008 (financed by the SGC) served as the kick-off meeting of the DFG priority program “Tibetan Plateau: Formation – Climate – Ecosystems”, which presently acts as the predominant platform for coordinated Sino-German collaboration on the Tibetan Plateau research.
The 6th Sino-German workshop in Qingdao 2009 attracted more than 100 participants and served as the first regular TiP priority program meeting. Following the workshop, the 1st summer school on Tibetan Plateau research for Chinese and German students was held to train young scientist from both nations and prepare them for an early research career.
The Sino-German workshop is witnessing a continuous growth, expecting more innovative ideas and outcomes in unraveling the mistery of the Plateau.