The University of Birmingham has signed agreements with three Chinese partners as part of a major visit to the UK by leaders from Guangdong province.
Party Secretary, Communist Party of China Guangdong Committee, Mr. Hu Chunhua and Mayor of Guangzhou Mr. Wen Guohui joined China’s UK ambassador His Excellency Mr Liu Xiaoming to lead the 20-strong delegation.
The leaders and their fellow delegates attended a special ceremony hosted by Birmingham City Council, where University of Birmingham Provost Professor Tim Jones signed agreements with three partners from Guangzhou to further strengthen the University’s research and teaching presence in the province.
Professor Jones signed an agreement with senior leaders from Sun-Yat Sen University (SYSU) to establish a Primary Care training centre at SYSU First Hospital that will help to boost the numbers of Chinese doctors in general practice. The University of Birmingham will help to provide high-quality training, education and academic projects.
He joined academics from the Guangdong Academy of Sciences (GDAS) to launch a partnership that will see Chinese research students joining their Birmingham counterparts to explore a range of areas in metallurgy and materials, as well as mechanical engineering.
The Provost also formalised a new partnership with Jinan University that will allow students to study in China and receive degrees from each university. Students will be able to take dual degrees in in Economics, Information Computer Science, Pure Mathematics, and Statistics - taught by both Jinan and Birmingham academics on site.
Professor Jones said: “I am delighted to meet the delegation from Guangdong, the region in which the University of Birmingham has particularly strong links with China.
“Today marks another milestone of the University’s development in Guangzhou, as we are signing three major projects with our partners which allow us to bring both our research and teaching excellence into Guangzhou.
“Through these projects, we are pleased to contribute to Guangdong’s regional social and economic development by nurturing talent for the big data economy, upgrading manufacturing technologies, and enhancing innovation for health.”
The University of Birmingham is playing a pivotal role in helping to deliver China’s £85 billion Health Reform investment, which is focused on developing primary care and training an extra 300,000 GPs by 2020.
Under the leadership of Professor KK Cheng, director of its Institute of Applied Health Research, the University has delivered training programmes, both locally and in the UK, to some 500 senior managers, over 4,000 doctors and 1,000 GP trainers.
It has also jointly established six ‘China-UK Collaborating Centres for General Practice Training’ in Guangzhou, three of which are officially listed among the ‘Best 100 Community Health Centres’ in China.
The University has been participating in joint research programmes with GDAS since 2013, especially in the fields of new materials, advanced manufacturing, and hydrogen storage.
GDAS is the largest research-focussed academy in Guangdong province, with six major institutes. Its main research areas include: resources and environment, materials and chemical industries, advanced manufacturing, electronics and IT, biotechnology and health, and industrial services.
The launch of dual degrees with Jinan further expands the University of Birmingham’s global teaching offer, with academic partnerships already well established with institutions in China and Singapore. Birmingham has also recently unveiled plans to develop a branch campus in Dubai.
Birmingham City Council Leader, Councillor John Clancy, said: "We've forged many links between Birmingham and Guangdong province over the last decade, working together in the world of business, local government, culture and of course education. So I’m delighted to welcome such a high profile delegation to the city.
"The three agreements with the University of Birmingham further cement those strong ties and I have no doubt that this special relationship will continue to deliver for both Birmingham and Guangdong province."
Professor Jon Frampton, Director of the University’s China Institute and Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor (China), said: “The University of Birmingham has achieved a great deal since opening our Guangzhou office in 2011. We’ve launched 28 joint research projects with our Guangzhou partners and established collaborations with all major education institutions in Guangdong.
“We look forward to bringing our collaboration with Guangzhou to a new level in research, education and public health, as well as expanding our impact wider in the Guangdong region thanks to the continued support of the Guangzhou and Guangdong governments.”
• 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.
• It is ranked 7th in the UK for Graduate Employability (Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey 2014/15) and was named University of the Year for Graduate Employment 2015/16 by The Times and Sunday Times.
• The history of collaboration between China and the University of Birmingham dates back almost to the foundation of the University in 1901. The University’s China Institute was created in 2012 to reflect Birmingham’s extensive academic activities its colleagues undertake in China.