Shanghai event celebrates University's Chinese success

22 Oct 2013 11:25:24.213

Over 80 representatives from business, government and higher education recently attended an event at Shanghai’s World Financial Centre to celebrate The University of Nottingham’s wide-ranging links with China.

The aim of the ‘On Location’ dinner was not only to celebrate the strong industry partnerships that The University of Nottingham enjoys in China, but also to demonstrate the impact it has in both countries.

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Last year, China spent approximately 1 trillion yuan ($160 billion) in research and development and it is expected to overtake the US within a decade in total government and private-sector investment in R&D.

A vitally important market for the University
China is also a vitally important market for The University of Nottingham, which generates an estimated £80 million in income per annum from a combination of its campus in China, its Chinese students studying in the UK and its research work with Chinese businesses.

In 2004, The University of Nottingham became the first foreign University to establish a campus in China, in Ningbo. Developed on a campus occupying 144 acres, the establishment of the University of Nottingham Ningbo Campus (UNNC), with the full support of the Chinese government, marked an historic moment in the opening up of Chinese Higher Education and its development of the knowledge-based economy. It also signalled an increase in the level of collaboration between Chinese businesses and the UK.

Starting with 260 students, UNNC now has a total student population of 6,000 including 146 post-graduate students. This is due to rise to 8000 by 2017. Each year, UNNC admits more than 1200 of the most talented young people of their generation, from provinces and municipalities across China. Graduates from UNNC typically find jobs in Fortune 500 companies.

The Ningbo campus also enabled The University of Nottingham to build its reputation and expand its network in China, resulting in a growing number of Chinese students coming to Nottingham to study. Today there are currently over 2,400 full-time and post-graduate students studying at the Nottingham campuses.

Establishing links with Chinese businesses
UNNC also enabled the University of Nottingham to establish links with Chinese businesses, many of whom attended the event in Shanghai. Over the last couple of years the University has announced research and training collaborations with the likes of the aerospace giant, AVIC; the automobile manufacturers FAW and Changan; the railway company China South Rolling Stock (CSR); the country’s biggest food and drink business, China Resources Group, and many other major companies.

The University has also established many research collaborations with other Chinese Universities, including Fudan, Shanghai Jiaotong, China Agricultural University, East China University of Science and Technology and the Guangdong University of Finance. In addition, The University of Nottingham was chosen as the UK home of the Sino-UK Geospatial Engineering Centre.

Addressing skills shortages
The University of Nottingham is also helping British companies address skills shortages in China. An example of this is with Sondrel, an integrated circuit design business which has established a unique course with the University in Ningbo, to train integrated circuit designers. The first cohort from this school graduated earlier this year and were all recruited by Sondrel.

The guests at The University of Nottingham’s ‘On Location’ dinner in Shanghai represented companies and major organisations from across the world and from China, in sectors including aerospace, rail, automotive, advanced manufacturing, biopharma, energy, financial services, architecture, creative, surveying and food and drink.

The University of Nottingham’s Vice Chancellor, Professor David Greenaway, who addressed the guests, said afterwards: “This was an excellent opportunity for us to share with our friends and partners the latest developments at The University of Nottingham, to demonstrate the economic and social impact the University has made in China, and to network with some of our key partners in industry and the wider community.

“As our Ningbo campus matures and our industrial partnerships grow in China, we are increasingly able to support UK and global businesses to do business with Chinese companies in skills development and knowledge exchange.”

Education is one of the largest export industries
Matthew Forbes, Acting Consul General in Shanghai, praised the close relationship between the University of Nottingham’s Ningbo Campus and UK government. He said:

“Education is one of the largest export industries in the UK, exporting £16bn annually at the moment and expected to grow to £26bn by 2025. The University of Nottingham is the best example of a UK university in China, not only in terms of education, but in developing partnerships with the government, and industry.”

The University’s Pro-Vice Chancellor for External Engagement, Professor Chris Rudd concluded the event by making part of his speech in Mandarin. Speaking about the impact of The University of Nottingham in China, he said: “Our impact in China goes much further than higher education. It also encompasses extensive work with many businesses and also has a tremendous impact on the local economy.

"We are committed to nurturing the most enterprising and globally-minded graduates and undertaking world-leading, innovative research to benefit the communities around our campus in Ningbo and in the many other parts of China where we have established strong collaborations with businesses and universities.”

For more information about The University of Nottingham’s work with China, contact the Asia Business Centre on or phone  +44 (0)7780 491136.

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For more information about this press release, contact Nick King, Marketing Projects Manager, Business Engagement and Innovation Services, University of Nottingham. Tel: 0115 82 32184, or email

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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 42,000 students at award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It was ‘one of the first to embrace a truly international approach to higher education’, according to the Sunday Times University Guide 2013. It is also one of the most popular universities among graduate employers, one of the world’s greenest universities, and winner of the Times Higher Education Award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development’. It is ranked in the UK’s Top 10 and the World’s Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong and the QS World Rankings.

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise. The University aims to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health. The University won a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education for its research into global food security.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest ever fundraising campaign, will deliver the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future.

Story credits

For more information about this story, please contact Jason Feehily, Head of the Asia Business Centre, on +44 (0)7780 491136
Nick King  

Nick King - Marketing and Communications Manager, Energy Research Accelerator (ERA)

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 74 86727 Location: Coates Building, Faculty of Engineering, University Park Nottingham

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