Professor Kok Khoo Phua and Doreen Liu, founders of Asia’s largest international scientific publishing company, have donated e-books worth £1 million for the new University of Birmingham library.

Professor Phua and Ms Liu studied at the University of Birmingham before setting up the World Scientific Publishing Company in Singapore in 1981. Professor Kok Khoo Phua (PhD Mathematical Physics, 1970) was also awarded an honorary doctoral degree (DSc) by the University of Birmingham in Singapore in 2013, in recognition of his contribution to physics and scientific publishing. Doreen Liu (BSocSc Economics, Politics and Sociology, 1970) has received a number of international awards for her work in publishing, including Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Women in Asia in 2010.

Their gift of 7,000 e-books will greatly enhance and support study across a considerable number of scientific fields at the University, including engineering, chemistry, materials science and life, medical and environmental sciences.

Professor Kok Khoo Phua and Doreen Liu

World Scientific Publishing’s donation is a testament to the ethos of the new University of Birmingham Library in recognising the complementary value of digital resources. Designed with the modern student in mind, the Library will provide a contemporary, attractive space in which to work and think, reflecting changing approaches to education in the digital age. State of the art technology will dramatically improve access to the wealth of knowledge in the University’s archives, enhancing both academic research and the quality of student learning.

Speaking about the donation, Doreen Liu said:

“We are glad that the University is constructing an outstanding, technologically rich new library and hope our gift will inspire the next generation of Birmingham students.

“KK and I spent three wonderful and fruitful years in Birmingham. I had intended to study in London but KK visited the University of Birmingham one day and the beauty of its campus captivated him so much that he decided that we must transfer to Birmingham immediately. We are happy we made such a decision.

“Speaking for myself, I never studied as hard as when I was in Birmingham. In my first year alone my personal tutor encouraged me to read more than 50 – both fact and fiction, as well as outside my curriculum – which cultivated my love for reading.”

To celebrate the donation of e-books, the University of Birmingham hosted a reception for alumni and friends in Singapore on Thursday 6 November. The event was hosted by Professor Richard Williams, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences at the Tower Club, who gave thanks to Professor Phua and Ms Liu on behalf of the University.

Professor Williams said:

“We are truly grateful for this generous gift by Professor Phua and Ms Liu, which will allow us to deliver broader and more innovative ways to learn to our students. Donations such as these are crucial if we are to continue to provide outstanding education and cutting-edge research that addresses global challenges and makes a real difference to people’s lives.”

The event also featured a talk by Professor Stephen Brammer, Director of Faculty at Birmingham Business School, who discussed ‘Contemporary Corporate Responsibility: Debunking Five Myths.’ Drawing from his experience and research, Professor Brammer talked about how leading businesses are learning to make corporate responsibility central to strategy, and benefitting as a result.


Notes to Editors

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  • The University of Birmingham currently has almost 700 Singaporean students following a range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses in the UK and Singapore, delivered in conjunction with its international partner, the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM), via a flying faculty arrangement.
  • 2014 marks 21 years since the University of Birmingham first began delivering business education in Singapore. Today, the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) relationship with Birmingham Business School is providing courses for University of Birmingham students at undergraduate, MSc and MBA level, delivered in Singapore by flying faculty.
  • World Scientific Publishing Company was established in 1981 and today employs more than 200 staff at its headquarters in Singapore and 450 globally. It has offices in New Jersey, London, Geneva, Hong Kong, Taipei, Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin and Chennai. World Scientific publishes about 500 new titles a year and 120 journals in various fields.
  • Professor Kok Khoo Phua is Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of World Scientific Publishing, the Founding Director of the Institute of Advanced Studies at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Adjunct Professor of Department of Physics at National University of Singapore (NUS). He was elected as a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) for his contributions to research and education in physics in 2009 and was also awarded the IPS President's Award by the institute of Physics Singapore (IPS) Council, for his outstanding contributions to physics research and education in Singapore in 2006.
  • Doreen Liu is Managing Director of World Scientific Publishing and Treasurer of the International Women's Forum (IWF). She has assumed several important roles within the publishing industry, including Chairman of the Publishing Association of Singapore, Council Member and Chairman, Publishing Committee of Singapore-British Business Council (EDB), and chairman of Printing and Publishing Advisory Committee (TDB).
  • The University of Birmingham Library forms part of a group of capital projects within the University’s ‘Circles of Influence’ fundraising campaign. The campaign has seen alumni and supporters invest £160million in innovative student programmes, world class medical research, and state-of-the-art campus facilities since 2007. 
  • The University of Birmingham was named The Times and The Sunday Times University of the Year 2013/14.
  • The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions, its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than 4,000 international students from nearly 150 countries.