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Aston Webb buildings at the University of Birmingham

The University of Birmingham has won three prestigious Newton Advanced Fellowships that will allow Chinese researchers to develop their research strengths and capabilities and those of their research group by working with Birmingham’s global experts.

Birmingham is collaborating on three Newton Advanced Fellowships that are joint awards by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), The Royal Society and The Academy of Medical Sciences.

There were 93 applications with a total of 22 Fellowships awarded including the following in collaboration with the University of Birmingham:

  • Chen Guozhen, from Fudan University - Crystallization-driven self-assembly of sugar-containing polyester and its immunological function (Co-applicant: Professor Rachel O'Reilly, School of Chemistry)
  • Fu Pingqing, from Tianjin University - Coupling evolution of atmospheric organic -inorganic aerosols in the coastal areas of North China: effects on the formation of secondary organic aerosols (Co-applicant: Professor Roy Harrison OBE FRS, School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences)
  • Sun Xun, from Sichuan University - Basic development and application of novel painless and slow release hepatitis B vaccine microneedle (Co-applicant: Professor Zhibing Zhang FREng, School of Chemical Engineering)

Professor Zhibing Zhang, Co-Director of the University of Birmingham’s China Institute, commented: “The fact that the University of Birmingham has secured the highest number of Newton Advanced Fellowships of any UK university is testament to the strength and depth of our research partnerships with China.

“We are working together on research partnerships which produce outcomes that benefit not just China, but the wider world. These Fellowships will further strengthen the research excellence of our partnerships by supporting promising young researchers in China."

The award is available to international mid-career group leaders to develop their research by linking them with some of the best research groups in the UK. 

The value of the award is £111,000 with match funding from NSFC. The scheme helps established international researchers to develop their research strengths and capabilities and those of their research group through training, collaboration and reciprocal visits with their UK partner. 

The awards aim to support the development of a well-trained research community which can contribute to advancing economic development and social welfare in the partner country by transferring new skills and creating new knowledge.

This scheme is funded by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) as part of the Newton Fund. 

  • 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 China Institute was created to reflect the University’s extensive academic activities its colleagues undertake in China.
  • The Newton Fund is part of the UK’s official development assistance. Its aim is to develop science and innovation partnerships that promote the economic development and welfare of partner countries. Launched in 2014, it originally consisted of £75 million each year for five years, but was extended from 2019 to 2021 and expanded by doubling the £75 million investment to £150 million by 2021, leading to a £735 million UK investment to 2021, with partner countries providing matched resources within the Fund.