Birmingham and Hebei Universities plan joint environmental health and justice research institute

Hebei University President Dr Le Kang and University of Birmingham Provost Professor Tim Jones.

The University of Birmingham and Hebei University have signed an agreement to set up a joint research institute that will help to tackle major global problems linked to environmental pollution and injustice.

Delegates from the Chinese university travelled to Birmingham to meet their UK counterparts and define the next steps in setting up the centre, which will focus research on precision toxicology, environmental health and environmental justice & governance.

The institute will combine 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.

Led by Hebei University President Dr Le Kang, the delegation met the University of Birmingham’s Provost Professor Tim Jones. Professor Kang and Professor Jones signed an agreement to open the International Centre for Precision Environmental Health and Governance.

Professor Tim Jones commented: “The University of Birmingham is proud to work with our partners in China to combine scientific, legal and public health expertise to confront the global health and justice problems caused by pollution.

“We very much believe that a collaboration with Hebei University to establish this international Institute will offer leadership at making the environment safe from chemicals and at defending people's rights to a healthful environment.”

The Institute will focus on investigating solutions to a range of issues, namely: pollution from multiple sources; public health crises caused by environmental toxicity concentrated among the poorest and most vulnerable populations; and the failure of regulatory efforts to tackle these issues.

Professor Hisham Mehanna, from the University of Birmingham’s Institute for Global Innovation, commented: “Research in the joint centre will enable science to establish the causal relationship between pollution and damage to public health, and enable legal structures to make use of recent progress in precision toxicology and in environmental law."

Hebei University President Professor Le Kang said: “It is important for Hebei University to partner with the University of Birmingham on jointly establishing this international research centre. The institute will focus our combined academic excellence on offering solutions to better protect people from harm caused by exposure to pollution. We will work to inform the public about their options to defend their health and to safeguard the environment that we all depend on.”

The Institute brings together scientists, lawyers, engineers and health experts in Baoding, Hebei Province, located near China’s Xiong’an New District, to create a hub for the international Environment Care Consortium, for postgraduate education and for research training, pursuing research funding opportunities in China and the UK and speeding up the development of new and sustainable industries in both countries.

ENDS

For more information, please contact Tony Moran, International Communications Manager, University of Birmingham on +44 (0) 121 414 8254 or +44 (0)782 783 2312. For out-of-hours enquiries, please call +44 (0) 7789 921 165.

Notes to Editors

  • 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.
  • As the only key comprehensive university co-established by the Province and the Ministry in Hebei Province , Hebei University is vested with great importance in the region . It leads the way in the development of higher education in the province. Originally founded by the French Jesuits as Tianjin Business University, the university has gone through several periods , including Tianjin Business Institute, Jingu University , Tianjin Normal College, Tianjin Normal University. And in 1960, it became Hebei University and moved to the present site-Baoding, in 1970, a city with a long history and rich culture.