Pictured above at Tsinghua from left to right are: Sean Fielding, Director of Communication and Partnership, Neil Armstrong, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Chen Jining, Vice-President of Tsinghua University and Ban Liu, the Manager of the South West Regional Development Agency China Office.

Exeter to grow links with China’s elite universities

Discussions are underway between the University of Exeter and Tsinghua, one of China’s top universities, with a view to strengthening relationships and reinforcing educational partnerships.

This follows an official visit to the People’s Republic of China in June by Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Neil Armstrong, Director of Communication and Partnership Sean Fielding and Mary McCrindle, Assistant Director in the International Office.

Partnerships with the School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics (SECaM) and University of Exeter Business School were discussed, as was the development of the new Science Park in Exeter. Prioritising joint research and funding initiatives that result from further collaboration were high on the agenda for SECaM.

Tsinghua University has one of the most prestigious Science Parks in China, and meetings were also arranged with the Secretary General of the China University based Science Park Association and managers of eight university science parks to understand best practice in science park development and discuss potential collaboration. A major item for discussion was how all parties could work together to enhance still further job prospects for Chinese students returning to China following a period of higher education study in the UK. It was agreed that co-operation between Science Parks, both in China and at Exeter, provided some exciting opportunities in this respect.

In the same trip Memoranda of Understanding were also discussed with several other highly prestigious universities. Building on existing links with our School of Law a meeting was held with faculty from the China University of Political Science and Law (CUPL), one of Beijing’s outstanding universities, and generally considered to rank number one nationally for the study of law. Opportunities for collaboration outside Law also exist, including in the field of international relations. A meeting was also held with The East China Normal University (ECNU) in Shanghai, an institution which enjoys a particularly high reputation nationally in the field of Education. In addition to these meetings visits were also made to the Shanghai University of Sport, and the Beijing Sport University where partnerships with Exeter’s School of Sport and Health Sciences were discussed and initiated.

Common to all these meetings were discussions built upon joint research, faculty and student exchanges, the promotion of educational opportunities at the University of Exeter and the enhancement of ‘employability’ prospects for Chinese and British students, including the development ofinternships and placements.

Professor Neil Armstrong, Deputy Vice Chancellor said of the recent visit, ‘It was a great success as we were able to forge stronger relations with top ranking educational institutions. In this Olympic year China has become more than ever a leader on the world stage. Growing and reinforcing our links with elite universities in the Peoples’ Republic remains a priority for the University of Exeter, and we look forward to increased levels of co-operation with our friends in China across a broad range of activities.’

Date: 26 August 2008

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