University of Birmingham Provost Professor Tim Jones and Nanjing Vice Mayor Jiang Yuejian sign the Memorandum of Understanding

The University of Birmingham today signed an MOU with Nanjing Municipal Government to work with Birmingham’s sister city on a range of research, innovation and cultural projects.

At a special signing ceremony, University of Birmingham Provost Professor Tim Jones and Vice Major of Nanjing Mr Yuejian Jiang signed a Memorandum of Understanding to further strengthen the University’s research links to the city.

Nanjing is the sister city of Birmingham itself and the University has forged close links with the Municipal Government and academic partners in the city and wider province, including Nanjing University and Jiangsu Industry Technology Research Institute (JITRI).

The MOU will see the University work closely with the Municipal Government in the following areas:

  • Research and innovation - encouraging local research institutes, institutions of higher education, and enterprises to work with the University in scientific research and technology innovation.
  • Industrial matchmaking, technology transfer and commercialisation – linking Birmingham's scientific and technological projects to Nanjing's enterprises and sci-tech agencies so that research can be transformed into commercial products.nstitutions of higher education, and enterprises to work with the University in scientific research and technology innovation.
  • Talent training - nurturing leading sci-tech entrepreneurial talent and personnel working in education, health and public affairs. Promoting student exchanges between Birmingham and Nanjing, whilst helping high-performing students to study in both China and the UK.
  • Academic and people-to-people exchange – Through Nanjing’s Bureau of Culture, Broadcasting & Television and Press & Publication, organising cultural events showcasing the partnership; developing Shakespeare research and other relevant cultural activities in Nanjing. 
  • Medicine and health - supporting Nanjing's medical universities and healthcare organisations to work with the University in clinical medicine, public health, theoretical research, technological service and personnel training.

Professor Jones said: “Signing this MOU further strengthens the University of Birmingham’s links with the city of Nanjing and our partners in this, a partner city to our home city of Birmingham, where we have particularly strong links with China.

“Today marks another milestone of the University’s development in Nanjing, as we sign up to a range of future collaborations with our partners which allow us to bring our research excellence into the city and wider province of Jiangsu.

“Through these projects, we are pleased to contribute to Nanjing’s regional social and economic development by nurturing partnerships across a range of areas where we can provide research and educational expertise.”

Vice Major of Nanjing Mr Yuejian Jiang said “With the goal to build Nanjing as a globally renowned innovation city, Nanjing Municipal Party Committee and Nanjing Municipal Government are proactive to encourage innovation and issue a series of policies that favourably beneficial for innovation. University of Birmingham enjoys a strong reputation for research; we hope that signing this MOU will bring more commercialization of research achievements made by University of Birmingham and further the cooperative development of economy for University of Birmingham and Nanjing city.”

The University has a number of significant partnerships in Nanjing. Experts from its world-renowned Shakespeare Institute, based in Stratford-upon-Avon, joined Nanjing University and Phoenix Publishing & Media Group to increase access to and understanding of Shakespeare across China.

And senior leaders from Southeast University (SEU) recently visited the University of Birmingham to explore setting up a joint research institute that might benefit research collaboration in Biomedical Engineering and data science.

Delegates from the Chinese university met their UK counterparts in computational biology and biomedics, as well as discussing collaboration opportunities in Chemical Engineering. Discussions also took place with experts from the School of Engineering to enhance collaboration in Electrical Engineering in both joint education and research.

Discussions also focussed on how the two universities might collaborate in the proposed Nanjing Health Data Centre – an initiative led by SEU to establish a large-scale biomedical data science infrastructure platform in Nanjing, creating a national centre of excellence in health research.

The University of Birmingham recently joined the UK’s prestigious Alan Turing Institute, which was set up to advance the world-changing potential of data science. It was named in honour of the British pioneer whose work in theoretical and applied mathematics, engineering and computing laid the foundations for the emerging field of data science.

Professor Jon Frampton, Director of the University’s China Institute, said: “The University of Birmingham is a global research and education leader with a civic outlook and committed to supporting our home city, whilst fully playing our part in China.

“We are, therefore, delighted to offer our expertise in academic research, life sciences, new energy and transport to support the existing cooperation between Nanjing and Birmingham City Council, which aims to enrich collaboration between municipal government in each city.”

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.

  • 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 6,500 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 University’s China Institute was created in 2012 to reflect Birmingham’s extensive academic activities its colleagues undertake in China. 
  • The City of Birmingham has a strong and well established history of working in formal relationships with cities from around the world. Birmingham has a Treaty of Friendship with Nanjing and the two cities enjoy successful co-operation.