University of Nottingham Ningbo China
AHRC Centre for
Digital Copyright and IP Research in China
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AHRC China Centre launch

2015 March - The University of Nottingham, Ningbo

As China’s economic focus continues to shift from manufacturing to design, a new research centre examining Chinese digital copyright launched at The University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC) on Friday 6 March 2015.

Combining British and Chinese expertise, the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Digital Copyright and IP Research Centre in China will investigate the global copyright challenges and opportunities for creative and tech industries.

Copyright and intellectual property (IP) laws are critical considerations for start-ups, entrepreneurs and corporations, particularly 'disruptive innovators' who use technology to shake-up existing business models. On-demand media streaming provider Netflix, which moved from posted DVDs to streaming film and TV content online, is a prime example.

Professor Julie Sanders, Vice Provost (Teaching and Learning) at UNNC, said: “The Centre's research will have relevance to government, business and education sectors in China. Its findings aim to inform policy and support the development of consistent copyright and intellectual property regulation and to aid business innovation and commercial design across China.

“There is the opportunity to have real impact in China as well as to bridge the best of UK and Chinese research capacity in this field.”

The Centre is supported by a £500,000 grant from the AHRC and Newton Fund over two years with match funding from the Ningbo Science and Technology Bureau. It will act as a key national research hub with links to related projects and research groups in Beijing, Shanghai and other major cities.

At the launch event held at UNNC, Professor Rick Rylance, CEO of the AHRC, said: “From music, film and fashion to engineering and software development, the digital environment is changing everything and needs to be understood through joint working, research and communication across countries and sectors,” 

“This is not just a matter of consistent regulation, the exploration of copyright in the digital age opens up possibilities and opportunities in very many fields including publishing and digital archives as well as design and industry.”

Also speaking at the launch, Liqin Huang, Director of Ningbo Science and Technology Bureau, said: "I hope this centre will serve the Ningbo science and technology innovation strategy, further push collaboration and exchange between China and the UK in intellectual property protection, and improve public awareness of IP protection in Ningbo.”  

Currently being recruited, a professor of digital copyright research will direct the Centre and develop a small team in Ningbo, including research fellows and postgraduate researchers.

The launch announcement coincided with a UNNC presence at the GREAT Festival in Shanghai last week. The festival, which showcased British digital innovation and creativity in sectors from education to entertainment, was organised by the UK Embassy, the China-British Business Council, the British Council and UK Trade & Investment.

Other collaborators on the AHRC Digital Copyright and IP Research Centre in China include the Horizon Centre for Digital Economy Research at the University of Nottingham and the RCUK CREATe consortium led by the University of Glasgow.

AHRC China Centre