University leaders join delegation in China to strengthen collaborations

3 October 2016

Senior professionals from the University of Derby visited Shanghai, China this week as part of a Ministerial Delegation led by Jo Johnson MP, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, to further strengthen research collaborations between the UK and China.

Members of the UK delegation in Shanghai

The Ministerial Delegation included the University of Derby’s Pro Vice-Chancellor for External Affairs, Professor Judith Lamie, Professor Nick Antonopoulos, Dean of the College of Engineering and Technology and Research Professor in Distributed Systems, and Professor of Distributed Computing, Lu Liu, alongside other representatives from across the UK academic community.

The visit came as part of a programme of events aimed at developing and strengthening Derby’s relationship with institutions and government agencies in China.

Speaking about the University’s relationship with China, Professor Lamie said: “The development of strong and sustainable partnerships is at the heart of the University of Derby’s international strategy. We are committed to developing mutually beneficial collaborations and working closely with educational institutions and businesses in China.

“We have successful and expanding relationships with universities such as the University of Jiangsu and Tongji University where we are exchanging students and staff as well as collaborating on major research projects such as the Sino-UK Higher Education Research Partnership for PhD studies.”

The visit comes ahead of a high-profile multi-sectoral delegation to Shanghai and the Anhui province in November, as part of the Midlands Engine joint investment and trade delegation, and includes business and civic leaders. The University of Derby will be represented by not only Professors Lamie and Liu, but also Vice-Chancellor, Professor Kathryn Mitchell and Professor Paul Stewart, IISE Research Chair in Energy and Environment.

Speaking about the University’s developing innovation strategy, Professor Stewart said: “The University of Derby is now firmly grounded as a key supplier of innovation and enterprise support to regional businesses across all industry sectors through multi-million pound Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) support and directly funded research programmes with global manufacturing companies and their supply chains in the region.

“We recognise the opportunities and benefits to be gained by expanding our research, innovation and commercial activities with partners in China, and are looking forward to exploring and opening mutually beneficial collaborative activity.”

Earlier in the year, a University-led delegation visited China to develop agreements with a number of institutions, including Anhui University and Hefei University.

Anhui University and Hefei University conducted a return visit to Derbyshire in June 2016, during which they met with senior university staff. This return visit resulted in agreements being signed with both universities.  

Hefei University and the University of Derby have also entered into an academic collaboration agreement, allowing for postgraduate student scholarships and academic visits between the two institutions. The University of Derby will be welcoming three visiting scholars from Hefei University, who have been sponsored by Anhui Provincial government, to visit the University for 12 months to work on publications, conferences and research projects.

The focus of the November visit will be to open collaborative pipelines between the University of Derby, Anhui and Hefei Universities and regional businesses in both the UK and China. The aims are to grow research and innovation and collaborative taught programme activity in key sectors such as big data and analytics, smart cities and systems, transport equipment manufacturing, low carbon technology and production, advanced materials, advanced manufacturing and medical/healthcare technology, cloud computing and the internet of things.