Professor Jonathan Knight Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) is in Shanghai this week taking part in a Ministerial Delegation led by Jo Johnson MP, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, to further strengthen UK-China international research collaborations.

The Ministerial delegation, organised through Universities UK International and the British Council, will include representatives from across the UK academic community as well as Professor Sir Mark Walport, UK Government Chief Scientific Advisor. Intended to further embed existing research ties between the two countries and to foster new ones, its key message will be of the importance to UK HEIs of internationalisation.

As part of the University’s own strategic vision, multiple partnerships with Chinese institutions have been established – including strategic partnerships with Zhejiang University (established 2013) and Tsinghua University (established 2012). These are yielding important results, including increased staff and student international mobility and a rise in co-authored international research and applications for new research funding.

With Zheijiang over the past three years, Bath has invested over £70,000 in seed funding to promote 11 collaborations across all subject areas. This has resulted in 16 co-authored publications and several large-scale external funding applications. With Tsinghua University, the University has funded a total of nine collaboration projects. These have led to 19 co-authored publications, joint workshops, as well as increased undergraduate and postgraduate student mobility.

This week’s delegation to China comes ahead of this weekend’s Pujiang Innovation Forum which delegates will attend and at which international research collaborations and innovations will be further discussed. Other engagement activities planned include a visit to Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) campus and an innovation showcase event at the China Financial Information Centre.

Speaking from Bath ahead of the visit, Professor Knight said: “Our University places great importance on its strategic partnerships in China and I’m delighted to be part of the Ministerial delegation to cultivate our existing research partnerships and to promote new ones.

“Internationalisation is at the heart of what we do. Across the board we’re seeing the tremendous advantages that such an international outlook brings, whether in terms of student and staff mobility or through new research collaborations. Nowhere are these international ties stronger than with our international partnerships in China at Zheijiang University and Tsinghua University.”

UUK International Policy Manager Joe Taylor added: “UK universities’ links with China are far-reaching, diverse and now more important than ever. This week’s delegation emphasises the importance that the UK places on our academic and industry ties with Chinese institutions and will showcase how research partnerships, including those forged by the University of Bath, are making an important impact.”