Academician Xie's inaugural visit as UNNC new president deepens cooperation with Yongjiang Laboratory

12 March 2024

Xie's visit to Yongjiang Lab-thumbnail image

On the afternoon of 8 March, the newly appointed President of the University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC), Professor Xincheng Xie, a distinguished Academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the World Academy of Sciences, along with Professor Weiqi Shen, the Party Secretary of UNNC, and Provost and Pro-Vice Chancellor Professor Jon Garibaldi, who took up office earlier this year, led a delegation of the university to visit the Yongjiang Laboratory.

This marked Academician Xie 's first visit as the new President of UNNC, and both sides are looking forward to fruitful cooperation.

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Professor Ping Cui, Director of Yongjiang Laboratory, Deputy Directors Yongqing Zhang and Xuedong Wu, and other leaders of the Yongjiang Laboratory warmly welcomed the delegation from UNNC.

During the visit, President Xie and the delegation toured the working sites of research teams, including the Advanced Display and Sensing Research Center, the Material Analysis and Testing Center, and the Advanced Structural Ceramics Research Center. They also received introductions on the research directions of the Yongjiang Laboratory and related areas.


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Following the visit, a discussion session was held where Professor Garibaldi, the Provost and Pro-Vice Chancellor of UNNC, introduced the university's mission, vision, key features, and future prospects to the researchers at the laboratory.

He highlighted that this year signifies the 20th anniversary of UNNC. Over the past two decades, the university has epitomised a dedication to excellence and innovation, aspiring to exemplify the pinnacle of Sino-foreign cooperative education and to act as a central player in driving local development. Its unwavering commitment to delivering top-tier international education has garnered widespread acclaim. Professor Garibaldi expressed his optimism for the future, envisioning a heightened emphasis on impactful research and an accelerated transformation of outcomes to bolster the city and regional development with high-quality contributions.

Both sides engaged in enthusiastic discussions about the potential points of collaboration and their feasibility for the future.

In fact, the Yongjiang Laboratory and UNNC have a longstanding relationship. On 23 May 2023, the two sides signed a Memorandum of Understanding to carry out all-round and multi-level strategic cooperation in talent training, resource sharing, scientific research cooperation and transformation of achievements, thereby exploring new pathways for the integration of science and education.

This agreement includes the establishment of a Doctoral Training Partnership which aimed at cultivating outstanding innovative talents with an international perspective, and the exploration of new mechanisms for the integrated development of international higher education and science and technology innovation. Currently, the first cohort of joint doctoral students has joined the laboratory, injecting fresh vitality into the research teams.

Professor Garibaldi suggested that both sides work together in a creative way to enhance research quality and influence. He emphasised,

By fully harnessing the university's international resources, we can bolster cross-border exchanges and attract a greater number of overseas researchers to engage in collaborative endeavours. Additionally, we aim to expand our capacity to cultivate highly skilled doctoral candidates and institute diverse scholarships to appeal to exceptional young talent.

Professor Garibaldi
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President Xie was impressed by the rapid assembly of multiple formidable research teams at Yongjiang Laboratory and the swift progress of its projects. He highly appreciated the laboratory's innovative approach and its practices in establishing institutional mechanisms that rival those of world-class research institutions.

He noted that the open, inclusive, and exploratory research philosophy and atmosphere of Yongjiang Laboratory are well-aligned with the educational philosophy and characteristics of UNNC. Both the university and the lab prioritise forward-looking innovation and societal impact. Their collaboration is rooted in a strong foundation and robust interaction, promising to unlock further possibilities and advancement.


"We can promptly initiate action from the bottom up by organising meetings and workshops for researchers from both institutions to share ideas, complement each other's strengths, and foster deeper collaboration. Simultaneously, the leadership from both sides will sustain a high-quality cooperative environment, aiming for mutually beneficial outcomes and making significant contributions to Ningbo's socio-economic development."

President Xie

Professor Cui stated that the laboratory's vision is to become an open and hub-like research institution with high innovation efficiency. The strategic cooperation with UNNC injects vibrant momentum into the laboratory's development as a distinctive, world-class, new-type research institution. 

"We hope to continuously enhance our understanding through exchanges, find entry points for cooperation based on common interests and win-win principle, and carry out substantial cooperation."

Professor Cui

Meanwhile, she expressed the hope that Yongjiang Laboratory and UNNC can work together to create an innovation community to attract and engage more high-quality global resources, promote industry-university-research interactions, jointly expand the boundaries of knowledge, and contribute to the formation of new regional productive forces and the development of Ningbo into a modern coastal metropolis.