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We mark 15 years of Nottingham in Ningbo


Ningbo Campus in China

“Fifteen years ago, this was a risk for my colleagues, but the greatest risk was taken by the original students and their parents. Now look at it!” - the words of University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC) Provost Nick Miles as he reflected on the challenges that the University has overcome in the years since it first opened the campus gates back in 2004.

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the UNNC campus, the first Sino-foreign university to open its doors in China, and celebrations have been taking place to mark the many achievements in research which is improving lives across the country. “15 years of transforming lives” has seen a month of activity with a delegation of Unviersity Council members and alumni visiting the campus to witness the special occasion.

The University's role as a standard bearer for opening up higher education in China to other countries was recognised by Mme Xu Yafen, Chairperson of the Wanli Education Group, who played a pivotal role in establishing the University back in 2004: “China opened up in 1978 but the opening up of higher education came 26 years later. Without UNNC’s establishment in 2004, this could have taken 36 years or even longer.”

We now have over 8,000 students and 750 staff on campus from over 75 countries - and they are carrying out some truly remarkable work, helping improve the lives of people both in China and around the world. Some of our most inspiring work from staff, students and alumni in China has included:

  • Two alumni, Belle Chen and Abubakar Sadiq Mohammed Falalu, both being recognised by Forbes in their annual "30 under 30" lists. Belle made the list due to her entrepreneurial achievements in retail and e-commerce and Sadiq for his work in Nigeria establishing a rice-mill company which recorded a turnover of $500,000 in 2017.
  • Recognition in front of over 100 investment fund managers at the Vatican for a UNNC alumni start-up which is pioneering the processing and treatment of sewage.
  • Professor May Tan-Mullins receiving the 'Camellia Award' - the highest honour Ningbo city can bestow upon a foreign national, recognising her contribution to the social and economic development of the city.
  • Two students who raised funds to build a football pitch in a remote mountain village, bringing hope to so-called "left-behinds", children whose parents move to the city in search of work, leaving them in the care of relatives.

As well as looking back the celebrations this month are looking ahead to the future and the continuation of pioneering research, innovation and civic engagement, as Nick Miles highlighted: "As 15 years becomes 25, and 50, and beyond, we will continue to uphold the pioneering spirit that saw the establishment of the first Sino-foreign University back in 2004. And while coming together to celebrate this milestone in 2019, we also look forward to the next phase of development at UNNC with renewed energy and enthusiasm for what the future holds.”

Posted on Thursday 25th April 2019

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