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

Notes to editors:

About the University of Nottingham

Ranked 32 in Europe and 16th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings: Europe 2024, the University of Nottingham is a founding member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities. 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.

Nottingham was crowned Sports University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024 – the third time it has been given the honour since 2018 – and by the Daily Mail University Guide 2024.

The university is among the best universities in the UK for the strength of our research, positioned seventh for research power in the UK according to REF 2021. The birthplace of discoveries such as MRI and ibuprofen, our innovations transform lives and tackle global problems such as sustainable food supplies, ending modern slavery, developing greener transport, and reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

The university is a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally - and our graduates are the second most targeted by the UK's top employers, according to The Graduate Market in 2022 report by High Fliers Research.

We lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, in partnership with Nottingham Trent University, a pioneering collaboration between the city’s two world-class institutions to improve levels of prosperity, opportunity, sustainability, health and wellbeing for residents in the city and region we are proud to call home.

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