University of Nottingham Ningbo China receives award for COVID-19 response

Monday, 21 September 2020

The University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC) has been recognised for its response to the COVID-19 pandemic with an award from the European Chamber of Commerce in China.

UNNC was presented with the COVID-19 Crisis Response award at the 2020 Sustainable Business Awards ceremony held in Shanghai on 17 September 2020.

Having been assessed by eleven judges who were experts in sustainability, UNNC stood out for its overall strategic planning and pioneering role in maintaining academic standards along with the student experience in response to the pandemic.

Tom Murphy, UNNC’s Chief Financial and Planning Officer received the award at the ceremony on behalf of the University. In his speech, Thomas said that it was the University’s firm decision to continue teaching and research in the turbulent times while doing everything possible to ensure the safety of students and staff as the highest priority.

A key element of our COVID-19 recovery strategy was to reopen our campus such that our students can complete their degrees and go out to the world of business or further study.
Tom Murphy, UNNC’s Chief Financial and Planning Officer

UNNC initiated a series of measures to respond to the COVID-19 challenges. The working group which was established in January 2020 immediately initiated the University’s emergency response procedures and established a closed campus routine. In mid-February 2020, UNNC’s senior leaders agreed on a COVID-19 recovery strategy which involved initially moving to online teaching followed by face to face teaching as soon as agreement was obtained from the local authorities to do so.

On 2 March 2020, UNNC launched its teaching programme online which involved implementing a number of alternative software applications, upgrading the IT infrastructure and moving all of the teaching modules online.

Local authority approval to re-open the campus was received mid-April 2020 and the University opened its gates to students at the end of April such that in-person teaching could resume. UNNC became the first Sino-foreign University in China to resume face-to-face teaching with over 75% of the academic staff being in Ningbo prior to the border restrictions being implemented, along with 85% of students choosing to return. A blended format of online and offline teaching was adopted to ensure the consistent learning outcome of those who were unable to return.

The University of Nottingham has also undertaken COVID-19 related research through their partnerships in China, especially Ningbo. Research with Ningbo No 1 and No 2 hospitals on epidemiology and drugs related to COVID-19 have already been published, with a number of other research collaborations ongoing.

At the end of his speech, Tom commented that it takes global solidary to win the war against the pandemic. “We only succeeded with our strategy because we collaborated on a global basis.” He said, “The world is a better place when we come together and fight against this global common problem.”


Tom Murphy and and award presenter, Dr Jianzhong Lu, Founder of CSR Thoughts Lab.

The 2020 Sustainable Business Awards Ceremony, organised by the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, celebrates companies and organisations who put sustainable economic growth, environmental care and social welfare at the forefront of their values. The award categories follow United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in its China operations, including Advocate in Combating Poverty, COVID-19 Crisis Response, Navigating Diversity and Inclusion, Outstanding Environmental and Climate Performance, and Social Innovation Pioneer.

Story credits

All pictures courtesy of European Chamber.

More information is available from Jane Icke, Media Relations Manager for the Faculty of Science at the University of Nottingham, on +44 (0)115 951 5751 or

Jane Icke - Media Relations Manager Science
Phone: 0115 7486462

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The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience, and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement. Ranked 18th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings 2023, the University’s state-of-the-art facilities and inclusive and disability sport provision is reflected in its crowning as The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide Sports University of the Year twice in three years, most recently in 2021. We are ranked seventh for research power in the UK according to REF 2021. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally. Alongside Nottingham Trent University, we lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, a pioneering collaboration which brings together the combined strength and civic missions of Nottingham’s two world-class universities and is working with local communities and partners to aid recovery and renewal following the COVID-19 pandemic.

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