The Royal Society has enjoyed a long, rich history of exchanges across Asia including producing a series of translations of science policy briefings in Chinese and Japanese languages.

Cooperation with China dates back to the seventeenth century. Today, the Society holds formal Memorandums of understanding with the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), the Chinese Association with Science and Technology (CAST), and Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC). In May 2019, the Royal Society and the Chinese Academy of Sciences signed a joint statement on working together (PDF) and is currently running a series of joint policy dialogues on the emerging technologies. 

The Society maintains strong links with academies in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan through hosting a series of bilateral research conferences that bring together scientists and policymakers to collaborate on a broad range of scientific areas. The Society has supported pioneering science diplomacy initiatives in the region. For example, in 2013 the Society helped to facilitate a collaboration between UK and DPRK scientists to research earthquake activity beneath the Mount Paektu volcano.  

Engagement with Singaporean scientific institutions has included organising the Commonwealth Science Conference in 2017 alongside the National Research Foundation (NRF), which was the largest overseas event in the Society’s history with over 400 delegates from nearly 40 Commonwealth countries attending the event in Singapore.

The Society’s collaboration with India is mainly through the ongoing Royal Society Yusuf Hamied Programme which consists of (i) visiting fellowships, (ii) international exchange grants, and (iii) bilateral meetings to strengthen scientific partnerships between researchers from the UK and India. The meetings began in 2019 and have been delivered annually with an Indian partner, which to date has been the Indian National Science Academy (INSA). On a broader level the Society contributed to the S20 events hosted by India in 2023 and the resulting communique signed by the national science academies of the G20 states. Earlier large events included organising the first Commonwealth Science Conference in nearly 50 years in 2014 alongside the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research in Bengaluru.