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Professor Sir David Eastwood and President of Jinan University Professor Song Xianzhong digging earth at a ceremony
Professor Sir David Eastwood and Mr Wang Dong (centre) lead the tree planting at Jinan University

The University of Birmingham and Jinan University today announced plans to expand a successful partnership that sees over 500 students now studying in China and on track to receive degrees from both universities.

University of Birmingham Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir David Eastwood visited the Jinan University- University of Birmingham Joint Institute (J-BJI) to sign an agreement with President of Jinan University Professor Song Xianzhong that will see postgraduate teaching added to the innovative education programme.

The visit also marked eight years of the University of Birmingham’s partnership with Guangzhou Municipal Government and Professor Sir David Eastwood joined the Consular General of Consulate-General of the United Kingdom in Guangzhou Jo Hawley, Guangzhou Vice-Mayor Mr Wang Dong, and Professor Song Xianzhong to plant a tree on the Jinan University campus in the Panyu district of the city.

Recruitment activity is now underway for the fourth cohort of students to join J-BJI in September 2020 – studying for dual degrees across a range of mathematics-based subjects.

The agreement will allow the first J-BJI students graduating in summer 2021 to progress onto taught postgraduate programmes in Mathematics related subjects. There are also plans to explore the development of taught postgraduate programmes in medical and healthcare disciplines.

The universities also agreed to explore adding dual degrees in Chemistry to the programme of studies offered at J-BJI – benefiting from the Institute’s aims to nurture talent and equip students with skills that are highly sought after by new industries.

Professor Sir David Eastwood commented: “It is wonderful to visit Jinan University and see for myself how our programmes are delivering outstanding mathematics-based education from both our universities to students in China.

“The University of Birmingham has worked tirelessly with our partners in Guangzhou for eight years to create many benefits for its citizens. We have a wonderfully productive relationship with Guangzhou Municipal Government, Jinan University and many other partners.

“We are committed to continuing our contribution to Guangzhou society and, with the agreement signed today, signal our intent to broaden the range of academic opportunities available to students in this magnificent city and the wider Guangdong province.”

The partnership offers students the opportunity to earn high quality degrees from both Universities. There will be 300 places available for students in September 2020 and J-BJI will reach a steady-state of 1200 students by 2024.

Professor Song Xianzhong commented: “We are delighted to sign this new agreement with the University of Birmingham to enhance our popular and successful dual degree programme. Our ongoing partnership will expand the range of high-standard and internationally-recognized education available to Chinese students.

“Students joining our dual degree programmes are of the highest quality and enjoy unrivalled facilities in our Institute – benefiting from two contrasting, yet complementary styles of education from a top Chinese university and an elite British Russell Group institution.”

J-BJI students apply to do dual degrees with Mathematics and make a choice of one programme from four options:

  • Statistics with Economics
  • Economics
  • Information and Computing Science
  • Applied Mathematics

Programmes are based on the Jinan University campus and taught by both Jinan University staff and a team of top Birmingham mathematicians from around the globe. Students experience a UK-style education in China. Each of the four-year programmes includes innovative modules designed to develop problem-solving and team-working skills. These skills will build their ability to apply mathematics to real-world problems.

The programme gives students in China the opportunity to achieve high-quality dual degrees on the Guangzhou campus, whilst experiencing the teaching and study methods used at the University of Birmingham - part of the Russell Group of leading UK universities and a global top 100 university.

Eleven Birmingham alumni and staff have received Nobel Prizes. Professor David Thouless and Professor Michael Kosterlitz, two of the winners of the 2016 Nobel Prize for Physics given for work in Mathematical Physics, were members of the School of Mathematics at Birmingham in the 1970s.

Established in 1906, Jinan University is one of China’s elite group of the “211 Project” Universities. Jinan University carries out the mission of continuing the legacy of past sages whilst establishing the best disciplines to grow as a top university for future generations to benefit from one of the most prestigious universities in China. Mathematicians have been working with their Birmingham counterparts since 2011 on a range of teaching partnerships.

Professor Jon Frampton, Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor (China) and Director of the China Institute, said: "The expansion of this close collaboration between our two universities is testament to the University of Birmingham’s growing reputation in China. By working in partnership to deliver high-quality education with a global impact, we are giving Chinese students skills that are highly sought after by international graduate employers.”

  • 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.
  • 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.