Tsinghua is regularly ranked by national and international tables as one of the top two universities in mainland China.

Professor Gary Hawley and Professor Furong Li visited Tsinghua to explore areas of mutual interest with Bath's Faculty of Engineering & Design.

As a result of the visit, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed, recognising the mutual strengths of both institutions allowing closer links to be forged in the future.

In April next year, Professor Li, from the Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering at Bath, will lead a delegation to Tsinghua to participate in an inaugural Scientific Workshop between the two universities in the areas of Smart Grids, Energy Storage and Superconductivity. Representatives from major Chinese power companies will also be present.

Other engagement activities being planned include the exchange of PhD students, summer schools for undergraduates at Bath, and research engagement on automotive projects with the Bath’s Department of Mechanical Engineering.

The meeting at Tsinghua was timely – with an EPSRC collaborative project between institutions in the UK and China having just been announced. The research will involve both Bath and Tsinghua.

The call for UK-China consortia was announced following George Osborne’s visit to China in January 2012. On January 17th in 2012 he announced two joint programmes between UK research councils and the National Natural Science Foundation of China.

The ‘Open (Integrated Operation and Planning for Smart Electric Distribution Networks) Consortium’ is one of four successful UK-China smart grid consortia funded by EPSRC and NSFC, and aims at developing new planning and operational standards for future smart energy distribution network.

The consortium includes Professor Li from Bath, with collaborators from Cardiff University, Imperial College and Professor Zhechun Hu from Tsinghua University.

Professor Gary Hawley, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering & Design, said: “Tsinghua has a global brand and is recognised for the strength and depth of its research and the quality of its students.

“This link will significantly enhance the international standing of the Faculty in Bath, and the wider University. We look forward to developing our relationship with Tsinghua.”

Professor Colin Grant, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Internationalisation, said: “The signing of this agreement is a very positive step indeed for the Faculty and the University. Our relationships with China continue to thrive and I very much look forward to seeing mobility between our two institutions grow.”