BioTrib Silk Road – Embrace our opportunity of international research collaboration

Reaching back over 2,000 years, an ancient network of trade routes called the ‘Silk Road’ connected the East and the West. Precious goods, splendid cultures and religions travelling along thousands of miles, stroke, exchanged and merged. The term ‘Silk Road’ was first used by German geographer Ferdinand von Richthofen in 1877, as silk is one of the favourite goods traded from China to Europe, also as a metaphor for the ideas travelled from different civilizations.2

Amazed by this picture (marks are the origins of all ESRs who joined BioTrib this year) and the idea of ‘BioTrib Silk Road’ presented by Prof Richard during our ESRs meeting, I started to think about the importance of international research collaboration in the modern world.

BioTrib Silk Road – Image by Prof Richard M Hall, recreated by Esperanza Shi


“Ideas transcend borders, no country controls the marketplace of ideas.”

— Alejandro Adem 3

Indeed, there isn’t a researcher who knows everything in the world, nor a university owns all of the state-of-the-art equipment and facilities. We have to collaborate, and we love to collaborate. When people from diverse backgrounds meet, idea sparks. When institutions collaborate, science thrives. While in BioTrib, deep international connections have formed between universities and industries from the UK, Sweden, Switzerland, Germany, China and Australia; researchers are not only from different academic backgrounds but also diverse cultural backgrounds. The diversity and inclusiveness are the treasures of BioTrib and I can’t wait to see our footprints of contribution to academic research on this ‘BioTrib Silk Road’.

Header Image: Marco Polo Geography and Map Division/Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. (gct00215-ca000005) 1



(1) Marco Polo on the Silk Road

(2) The Silk Road

(3) The benefits and challenges of international research collaboration


This post was written by Esperanza Shi as part of an ongoing series of scientific communications written and curated by BioTrib’s Early Stage Researchers.

Esperanza is researching the Optimisation of Scanning Strategies for 3D Printed Artificial Joints at Imperial College London, UK.