The China’s Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) recently released “2014 List of Approved National Centers for International Research”, showing that the National Center for International Research on Large-scale Fires applied for by State Key Laboratory of Fire Science (SKLFS) together with four international partners has been approved officially. Among the 108 approved centers, the center applied for by SKLFS is the only one in the field of fire research in China. This center is also the only one National Center for International Research at the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC). Four international partners of the center include Engineering Laboratory of National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST-EL) in USA, Institute of Chemical Kinetics and Combustion (ICKC) in Russia, Centro de Estudos sobre Incêndios Florestais–Associação para o Desenvolvimento da Aerodinâmica Industrial (ADAI-CEIF, Center for Forest Fire Studies) in Portugal, and Imperial College of Science Technology and Medicine (ICSTM) in UK. All the partners provided letters of support for the center.
During the past years, the group led by Prof. Naian Liu at SKLFS has promoted cooperation with the international partners in fundamental researches on large-scale fires, including the spot fire with NIST-EL, the wildland fire spread with ICKC, the eruptive fire and fire whirl with ADAI-CEIF, and the large-scale smoldering fire with ICSTM. The ongoing international cooperation projects include 1) “Research on Key Scientific Issues Concerning Wildland-Urban Interface Fire Safety” (2012-2016), Major International (Regional) Joint Research Project, sponsored by Natural Science Foundation of China, with NIST-EL, ICKC and the University of Tokyo as the partners, and 2) “Cooperation Fundamental Research on Prevention Technology of Extreme Forest Fire Behaviour” (2014-2016), International Science & Technology Cooperation Program of China, sponsored by MOST, with ADAI-CEIF as the partner. A number of joint papers resulted from the collaborations concerning large-scale fires have been published in journals such as Proceedings of the Combustion Institute, Combustion and Flame, International Journal of Wildland Fire, Fire Technology, as well as IAFSS Symposium Proceedings.
Prof. Naian Liu, Head and Principal Scientist of the National Center for International Research on Large-scale Fires, introduced the significance for establishing this center: “Although large-scale fires occur much less frequently than small fires, they have a significant impact on natural, social and economic systems due to their potential for catastrophic consequences. According to US National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) statistics, 97% of all wildfires are extinguished at less than 10 acres, and the 2-3% that get out of control cause 95% of all fire related costs, damages and home losses. However, many key problems, especially the mechanisms of extreme fire behaviors in large-scale fires, have not been fully solved. The center on large-scale fires will focus on elucidating the mechanisms and developing the physical models for the initiation and growth of large-scale fires.”
The establishment of national centers for international research aims to upgrade the quality and level of international cooperation in science and technology, and to develop the centers into the pivotal forces in the world scientific circles, so as to act as pilots in relevant sectors regionally or globally. The MOST Special Support Programs for International Scientific Cooperation will give priority support for the approved centers so as to promote the development of the centers at a faster pace and to encourage cooperation research programs to yield high-level or world-front findings. More support will be provided for joint research, technical training, professional education and information service. Priority will be given in the funding of international projects sponsored by MOST, which will be included in the coming 13th national five-year development planning (2016-2020).