The University of Birmingham’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir David Eastwood today visited the Shenzhen-based Southern University of Science and Technology of China (SUSTech) to further discuss how the two institutions can work together.

His visit follows an agreement signed between the two universities last year, which laid the foundation for a partnership to explore opportunities for research collaboration and a collaborative programme of doctoral studies.

The Vice-Chancellor met Professor Shiyi Chen President of SUSTech and senior members of staff during today’s visit to the Chinese university. They held further discussions around the agreement to develop a split-site PhD programme.

The focal point of the scheme itself will see 20-30 PhD students recruited jointly by Birmingham and SUSTech each year. The students will be registered for a Birmingham degree, spending a total of at least one year in Birmingham and being supervised by both a Birmingham and a SUSTech academic.

Areas of research interest that could see SUSTech postgraduate researchers working at Birmingham include computer science, engineering, chemistry, biomedical science, and life sciences.

Professor Sir David Eastwood said “It is abundantly clear that our colleagues at SUSTech represent an ambitious and forward-thinking institution with a pioneering attitude towards higher education and research.

“The University of Birmingham’s partnership with SUSTech is testament to our growing reputation in China, as our experts work with their counterparts to deliver high-quality research and education with world-wide impact. As a global ‘civic’ university, Birmingham has a responsibility to enrich the life of people in our home city and the wider world.”

Professor Shiyi Chen visited Birmingham with a number of senior SUSTech colleagues in August 2016 to sign the agreement. The visit also included a roundtable discussion on education relationships between the two universities and a tour of the Birmingham Railway Research Centre.

SUSTech is a new university founded by the Shenzhen Municipal Government and led by the Guangdong Provincial Government. In 2012, the Ministry of Education approved the establishment of SUSTech as an innovative pilot for higher education reform in China.

SUSTech aims to build itself rapidly into an international university with advanced teaching and research capabilities, and cultivating talents in science and technology catering to market demands.

Professor Shiyi Chen said: “It is our great pleasure to host Professor Sir David Eastwood at SUSTech and strengthen the partnership we launched last August. International engagement is pivotal to SUSTech’s vision as a 21st-century global university dedicated to human development and world sustainability.

“Our partnership with the University of Birmingham is significant to us for several reasons: the long history of Birmingham with China, the connection with regional development and social progress, and the emphasis the University puts on reciprocal reinforcement between research and education.

“I believe that the joint effort in postgraduate education will bring our faculty members to work together closely, and lead to substantial exchange and cooperation between our two universities that embrace the same great education values.”

  • 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 Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) is a public university founded in 2011 in Shenzhen, one of the most prosperous and dynamic cities in China. SUSTech is positioned to be a top-tier research university that excels in interdisciplinary research, nurtures innovative talents and delivers new knowledge to the world.
  • SUSTech is widely regarded as a pioneer and innovator that catalyses the Chinese higher education reform, and has received world-wide attention as a promising young university of science and technology. The Nature Index 2016 Rising Stars has ranked SUSTech as the 62nd among the top 100 institutions world-wide for high-quality science. To learn more about SUSTech, please visit

For more information or interviews, please contact Tony Moran, International Communications Manager, University of Birmingham on +44 (0) 121 414 8254 or +44 (0)782 783 2312. For out of hours media enquiries, please call: +44 (0) 7789 921 165