UK univer­sity head calls for closer China ties

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By ZHAO XINYING zhaoxiny­ing@ chi­

Closer col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween the United King­dom and China in the fields of ed­u­ca­tion and re­search has been urged by the re­cently an­nounced new chan­cel­lor of the Univer­sity of Bris­tol, a pres­ti­gious higher ed­u­ca­tion in­sti­tu­tion in the UK.

Sir Paul Nurse, who was jointly awarded the 2001 No­bel Prize in Phys­i­ol­ogy or Medicine, was ap­pointed the eighth chan­cel­lor of the univer­sity in July.

Defin­ing his role as “cer­e­mo­nial and am­bas­sado­rial”, Nurse said he hoped to use his po­si­tion to help raise Bris­tol’s pro­file and ad­vance its in­ter­ests na­tion­ally and in­ter­na­tion­ally, in­clud­ing with China.

“A key part of the univer­sity’s new strat­egy is build­ing on its world-lead­ing rep­u­ta­tion for re­search. This in­cludes fur­ther work to in­crease the pro­duc­tiv­ity of strate­gic part­ner­ships with univer­si­ties and other or­ga­ni­za­tions over­seas, and a fo­cus on at­tract­ing the very best stu­dents from all around the world,” he said.

“I know that the Univer­sity of Bris­tol sees build­ing its part­ner­ships in China as be­ing a top pri­or­ity. The UK is al­ready China’s largest col­lab­o­ra­tor in Europe, co-au­thor­ing more sci­en­tific re­search pa­pers than any other coun­try in the world, ex­cept the US and Ja­pan.”

Bri­tain has long been a fa­vored des­ti­na­tion for Chi­nese study­ing over­seas and last year alone more than 70,000 visas were is­sued to stu­dents from China. How­ever, the UK’s vote to leave the Euro­pean Union has trig­gered con­cerns over its fu­ture at­trac­tive­ness to Chi­nese stu­dents.

Nurse said that al­though the Brexit vote has caused some short-term un­cer­tainty, he be­lieves the qual­ity of higher ed­u­ca­tion in the UK still re­mains among the best in the world.

“The am­bi­tion of Bri­tish univer­si­ties to re­tain this po­si­tion will not change, and nor will their in­ter­na­tional out­look. I am con­fi­dent that Chi­nese stu­dents will still want to come and study in Bri­tain be­cause of the world­class ed­u­ca­tion and the cul­tural ex­pe­ri­ence they will re­ceive liv­ing in the UK,” he said.

Last year, Nurse was elected to the Chi­nese Academy of Sci­ences, China’s top think-tank on sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy, as a for­eign aca­demi­cian. As an in­ter­na­tional sci­en­tist him­self, he said he would like to see more young Chi­nese re­searchers work­ing in theUKand more young UK re­searchers work­ing in China.

TheUniver­sity of Bris­tol is al­ready work­ing closely with the Chi­nese Schol­ar­ship Coun­cil to en­able young Chi­nese to pur­sue their stud­ies or re­search in the UK.

“His­toric links be­tween our staff and these early-ca­reerChi­nese re­searchers will be the cor­ner­stone of fu­ture re­search and pro­gres­sion,” he said.

Sir Paul Nurse

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