Forging powerful Chinese partnerships

The University is helping lead a high-level delegation to China this week, forging partnerships and opportunities between Chinese provinces and the Leeds City region, Council, and universities.

Joining the delegation is Pro-Vice-Chancellor: International, Professor Hai-Sui Yu, and Professor Frank Finlay, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures.

The aim is to boost the city of Leeds’ profile through an intensive week of meetings with China’s public and private sector leaders.

The University also hosted its largest-ever alumni meeting, with more than 250 taking part in the celebrations in Shanghai. An alumni celebration also takes place in Hong Kong. The events will mark Leeds’ status as The Times and Sunday Times’ University of the Year 2017, awarded for the University’s approach to student education and outstanding student experience.

As well as meeting with top-level officials, academics from Leeds are also due to meet with potential new partners and collaborators at a number of other institutions.

During the visit, Professor Yu is due to sign a formal memorandum of understanding with Zhejiang University, committing both organisations to closer collaboration on research projects and global student experiences.

Discussions will also focus on how Leeds and universities in China can respond to calls from the UK’s Government £1.5bn Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) and the £735m Newton Fund.

The Leeds delegation will also meet with representatives from Fudan University, Shanghai International Studies University (SISU), Nanjing University, and Shanghai Jiao Tong University, with which Leeds signed a memorandum of understanding last month.

Professor Yu said: “One of our most important objectives is to build relationships and forge new partnerships with colleagues in other countries. It is essential that we draw other leading academics into our research ambitions and that we collaborate with projects led from abroad

“We need to strengthen our position on the world scene and ensure that we drive world-class research partnerships and provide the best possible experience for our students.”

“We will be promoting the University’ ambitious plans to increase our global impact, and encouraging colleagues in China to collaborate in joint research and student education and teaching opportunities. Leeds is a truly global city and we offer access to some of the best and brightest minds in the world.

“Combining that with our plan to recruit more world-leading professors and 250 of the brightest new university research fellows, we are determined to support Leeds as being an innovative, strong and successful investment alternative to London.”

The wider delegation will also highlight Leeds’ bid to become the European Capital of Culture 2023, drumming up support for the bid which could bring significant visitor numbers and investment to the City.

Recent projects likely to be showcased include the University’s Anglo-Chinese theatrical programme, celebrating a 400 year legacy of William Shakespeare and Tang Xianzu.

Members of the delegation will also meet with private sector firms including technology company Alibaba, Huawei and Dahua in Shanghai and Hangzhou.

Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of the Leeds Enterprise Partnership, said: “The time is right for the City Region to be furthering its relations with China. Our world class institutions such as the University of Leeds and our strong business base offer an unrivalled access to innovation, particularly in the sectors of healthcare, life sciences, big data and technology; areas which are of interest to the fast growing Chinese market but also driving growth in both our regional and national economy.”

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