Chinese research leaders visit Birmingham to meet potential partners

Senior leaders from Jiangsu Industry Technology Research Institute (JITRI) visited the University of Birmingham to meet potential academic partners for future collaborations.

A delegation from the Nanjing-based research funding organisation met experts from across the University’s College of Engineering and Physical Sciences for discussions around funding opportunities and areas for collaboration, including visits to a number of Birmingham science labs relevant to key specialised institutes within JITRI.

The visit follows University of Birmingham Provost Professor Tim Jones’ meeting with JITRI in Nanjing last month where he signed an agreement to set up a PhD programme to train researchers in key areas of joint scientific research.

Covering potential research areas such as microparticle technology, biomedical devices and biomaterials, energy, innovative manufacturing and surface engineering, the PhD programme covers particular research strengths at Birmingham and represents key strategic areas for JITRI. 

The Chinese visitors were welcomed by Professor Jon Frampton, Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor (China) and Director of the University of Birmingham’s China Institute, and met colleagues from a range of EPS disciplines. 

Delegates heard a JITRI case study from Professor Zhibing Zhang, Professor of Chemical Engineering and were given an overview of the Birmingham Energy Institute (BEI) from   Professor Martin Freer, Head of Physics & Astronomy and Director of BEI.

Led by Dr. Haisheng Sun, Director of Resource Development Department, key members of the JITRI delegation met BEI scientists to discuss future partnerships in areas such as energy storage.

The whole delegation then toured a range of science labs including the Advanced Materials and Processing Laboratory, the Birmingham Centre for Energy Storage and the Autonomous Remanufacturing Laboratory.

Professor Jon Frampton commented:

“Today’s visit highlights the exciting partnership developing between the University of Birmingham and JITRI. This was an excellent opportunity to introduce Birmingham academics to JITRI and lay the foundations for research partnerships that will make an impact in the UK, China and around the world.

“The University of Birmingham’s reputation in China continues to grow as our researchers foster strong partnerships across the globe. We are honoured to welcome JITRI to Birmingham so that, together, we can continue helping to drive global innovation and scientific progress.”

JITRI and the University of Birmingham are already working together in a new ¥6,000,000 agreement to develop innovative equipment that will help researchers test the strength of microparticles.

The project could see the instrument developed by experts in Birmingham and Nanjing being sold to research institutes across China and, ultimately, around the globe. Professor Zhibing Zhang is leading the work, which is financially supported by JITRI for three years. The project is the result of an initial agreement signed between the partners in Nanjing in November 2016.

Dr. Haisheng Sun said:

“Since JITRI and the University of Birmingham established a cooperative relationship, we have always been working hard to promote the communications between University of Birmingham and research institutes, companies and science parks from Jiangsu Province.

“Last year, we successfully reached cooperation in the field of microparticle technology, which is a good example. And we also have several projects under negotiation now in this year. Besides, two of JITRI’s specialized institutes join our visit to Birmingham this time. And they are here to seek to collaborate with the first-class technical team from the University of Birmingham.

“This is a good trend for both sides. Apart from technical project cooperation, it was a further deepening for us to launch the joint PhD training program in this May. We both believe we will achieve more fruitful cooperation in the future.”

The University’s partnership with JITRI also helps to strengthen links between Jiangsu Province and the City of Birmingham in working together on areas of industrial research and development, such as advanced manufacturing and electronic information systems.

JITRI sponsors research collaboration with Chinese and global universities in a range of areas, including: advanced materials; biotechnology and new medicine; environmental protection; next generation information technology and software; and innovative equipment manufacturing.

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