Nankai JRI
Professor Jon Frampton, Director of the University of Birmingham's China Institute and Professor Jiadong TONG, Vice President of Nankai University.

The University of Birmingham and Nankai University have launched a Joint Research Institute and begun working together in mapping how British and Chinese researchers will tackle a range of global environmental challenges.

Delegates from the Chinese university travelled to Birmingham to meet their UK counterparts and define the next steps for the Institute in addressing issues across the green economy and sustainable development.

Led by Vice President Professor Jiadong TONG, the Nankai delegation met the University of Birmingham’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir David Eastwood as part of the formal launch of the Joint Research Institute on Green Economy and Sustainable Development.

Meetings with experts across the University of Birmingham helped members of the new Institute map out how they will work on a range of environmental health challenges, including air quality control; nanomaterials, microplastics and other emerging pollutants; and strategies for dealing with air, soil and water pollution.

Professor Sir David Eastwood said: “Our two universities have established a global research institute, which we believe will produce high-profile work that will improve the environment and the health of millions of people in China and around the world.

“We are delighted to welcome our partners from Nankai to the University of Birmingham and begin our research journey into the effects of climate change and pollution, which will help policy-makers respond efficiently to the challenges we face.
“This Joint Research Institute will deepen our already strong partnership with Nankai and represents another exciting opportunity for our researchers to foster strong partnerships across the globe.”

The Institute will allow research activities in interdisciplinary areas, faculty exchange, and joint PhD education. 

It brings together science and social science research - for example, setting the global policy agenda by combining understanding of how individuals and economy respond to environmental policy with scientific research identifying problems and how they might be solved.

Vice President Professor Jiadong TONG said: “Nankai University is keen to learn from world-class research institutions, such as the University of Birmingham, in order to strengthen international collaboration and create opportunities for students and staff to build strong relationships with our global partners. 

“Our partnership with Birmingham will create research and teaching collaborations that allow our students to pursue academic achievement at a top British university, whilst our academics help to solve a host of environmental problems facing China and the wider world.

“Launching the Joint Research Institute on Green Economy and Sustainable Development is a significant starting point for our co-operation and we look forward to building on the fruitful discussions we have had during our time in Birmingham.”

Researchers from Nankai and Birmingham will evaluate the impact of China’s green policies, as well as how policies can be improved and examining links between inequality and environmental challenges.

The Institute will cover research in environmental policy and economics, environment and public health, mathematics and data analysis. It also draws on Birmingham’s expertise in data science – allowing experts to look at environmental sustainability and analyse how people and nature can better co-exist.

It brings together research excellence between the two universities to allow cross-disciplinary research in global challenge topics. It will also establish a hub of postgraduate education and research training, pursuing research funding opportunities in China and the UK and speeding up the development of new and sustainable industries in both countries.

Vice President Wang Lei, of Nankai University, and Professor Jon Frampton, Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Director of the China Institute, at the University of Birmingham, signed an agreement to establish the Joint Research Institute in a special ceremony, in Nankai, in January.

The Institute’s formal launch follows exchange visits and discussions between the two universities over the last two years.

  • 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 delegation from Nankai University comprised of:
  • Professor Jiadong TONG, Vice President
  • Ms. Xian ZHANG, Director of International Affairs, Graduate School
  • Professor Junqing LI, Economics School
  • Professor. Qun BAO, Economics School
  • Ms. Nan JIANG, PhD student from Economics School
  • 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.
  • Nankai University was established in 1919, and is a China national 211 and 985 University. It ranks between 11-15 in China (NetBig). It is a comprehensive university, with 80 undergraduate disciplines, 231 Master’s programmes and 172 PhD programmes, in areas such as arts, social sciences, law, economics, medicine and engineering.