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University of Nottingham joins hands with Ningbo to tackle local challenges

Beacons meeting

Meeting between municipal government and the University

17 May: The University of Nottingham signed a framework agreement with the Ningbo municipal government today, setting out a commitment to establish the Beacons of Excellence Innovation Institute at the University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC).

In the UK, the University of Nottingham have six “Beacons of Excellence”, which bring together hundreds of researchers who are experts in different fields to tackle six of today’s pressing global challenges. Since establishing the UK Beacons in 2017, the University has already achieved far-reaching impact through this new approach to research and innovation. Researchers have worked on global food security, tackling modern slavery, developing the future of all-electric aircraft and world-changing advances in precision imaging – building on the legacy of MRI, which was invented at the University.

Now, this distinctive, challenge-focused approach to research will be coming to China and to the city of Ningbo. In order to scale up research and innovation capacity in Ningbo, and to help develop better solutions the challenges facing China and the world, the city of Ningbo will now be working with the University of Nottingham on a major new initiative, with the University offering its expertise to the city of Ningbo to support the city’s development.

At the signing ceremony, the Vice Mayor of Ningbo, Bingrong Chen said that as the city is now moving toward the next phase of economic growth, global experts and innovative research are in dire need. University of Nottingham’s offer to establish a Beacons of Excellence Innovation Institute in China presented a perfect collaboration opportunity.

British Consul-General for Shanghai, John Edwards witnessed the signing.

The shared vision between the University and Ningbo is that the new institute and associated programmes will become a world-class innovation platform for the city, where pioneering research results are generated, local solutions delivered, and high-quality talents cultivated.

To fully utilise UNNC’s unique position as a Ningbo based but globally-oriented university, the Beacons of Excellence Innovation Institute will be located at Ningbo’s high-tech zone, a 30 minute drive from the main UNNC campus.

UNNC Provost Nick Miles commented the new institute would become a critical component and a major drive of UNNC’s development into the next phase – UNNC 2.0.

Provost Nick Miles said: “As UNNC turns 15 years old, we are looking toward the next milestone in the story of this unique Sino-foreign university. While continuing to invest in education and the student experience, we will focus more on doctoral education and research that has an impact in China, and the world. I’m very glad to witness this strategic collaboration between the University and the city of Ningbo. This new institute will create significant momentum to UNNC’s progress into its next phase of development.”

Professor Shearer West, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nottingham spoke at the event that the Institute would become another exemplar of UK-China cooperation following the successful development of UNNC.

She said: “After 15 years, UNNC has been deeply rooted into the blueprint of Ningbo’s development, into the ‘One University’ global strategy of University of Nottingham. The signing ceremony today symbolises that Ningbo and University of Nottingham are once again working hand in hand to create a better future for the city and the university in the new era of development.”

With the University of Nottingham spearheading the project, UNNC and its partner Zhejiang Wanli Education Group will work collaboratively on ensuring the implementation.

The Beacons of Excellence Innovation Institute will primarily address three prominent issues – Smart Manufacturing, Green Chemicals and Energy, Life Science and Health Care, all of which are closely connected with local development goals.

Each of the three areas will have a dedicated research centre hosting leading scholars and researchers. New academic staff will be recruited from all over the world to work in institute, which will also act as a centre for innovative doctoral education.

Over the coming months, the University of Nottingham will be working with the city to develop its plans for the Institute, agree the areas of focus and seek to formally launch the initiative in the autumn of 2019, bringing to a close the year of celebrations for UNNC’s 15th anniversary.

Posted on 17 May 2019