The University of Birmingham and Nankai University have signed a formal agreement to work together on research and teaching.

The partnership strengthens existing collaboration between the two universities, which have committed to exploring research areas of common strength and interest.   

Academics from the two universities will now discuss working together across a range of research areas as diverse as environmental sciences, mathematics, biosciences and computational biology. 

They will also develop Nankai students’ participation in Birmingham’s ‘Study Abroad’ programme, which will see students spending two years at each university. 

A delegation from the university, which is based in the Chinese city of Tianjin, made a special visit to sign the new agreement in a ceremony on the Edgbaston campus. 

Professor Gong Ke, President of Nankai University joined Professor Robin Mason, Pro Vice Chancellor International, from the University of Birmingham to sign the agreement - both are pictured above (photo Adran Burrows). The Chinese delegation then joined counterparts from Birmingham for further discussions on future working. 


Professor Robin Mason said:  “Signing this agreement with colleagues at Nankai University marks the start of an exciting new era of close collaboration between our two universities in research and teaching. 

“We believe that working together will lead to high-quality research that has an impact around the world. Collaborating on joint teaching programmes will further enable us to improve education for students in both universities.” 

Professor Gong Ke said: “We wish that the collaboration between our two universities will focus on the grand challenges, enabling us to build an international and interdisciplinary platform of research on sustainability.” 

After the signing ceremony Professor Gong and his colleagues - Dr Gao Haiyan, Director of International Office and Dr Sun Puyang, from the School of Economics - met Nankai students studying at the University of Birmingham. 

Professor Jon Frampton, Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Director of the University of Birmingham’s China Institute, said: “The Universities of Nankai and Birmingham are, in many ways, very similar institutions and natural partners. Most importantly, both our universities are research-intensive, adopting high standards of excellence and using this research to inform and enrich the student experience. 

“Our meeting today built upon 15 years of successful engagement through Birmingham’s College of Social Sciences and decisions over the last six months about new opportunities. We expect to develop new education and research links from Mathematics and Environmental Sciences to Chemistry and Biological sciences.” 

The Chinese visitors also enjoyed a tour of the newly-refurbished Lapworth Museum of Geology at the University of Birmingham, which showcases one of the UK’s most outstanding rock, fossil and mineral collections, through a range of innovative and interactive exhibits. Dr. Richard Butler, of the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences is pictured above at the museum with Professor Gong Ke.



Notes to Editors                      

  • 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 5,000 international students from over 150 countries.
  • The history of collaboration between China and the University of Birmingham dates back almost to the foundation of the University in 1901. The China Institute was created in 2012 to reflect the University’s extensive academic activities its colleagues undertake in China.
  • The University’s China Institute co-ordinates the numerous China interests on the Edgbaston campus, including lectures and seminars, hosting incoming visits and encouraging interdisciplinary research across campus.
  • Nankai University is a national key university directly under the administration of the Ministry of Education of P. R. China, and is among the first group of “985” Universities.   

For more information, please contact Tony Moran, International Communications Manager, University of Birmingham on +44 (0) 121 414 8254 or  +44 (0)782 783 2312 or