Reconnecting with UCL’s valued Chinese community
30 May 2023
UCL received a warm welcome from key partners in academia and business, supporters, alumni, students and parents as part of a recent visit to mainland China.
Led by UCL President & Provost, Dr Michael Spence, the delegation enjoyed re-engaging in person with UCL’s valued Chinese community following the lifting of Covid-19 travel restrictions.
Professor Christoph Lindner (Dean of The Bartlett, UCL's Faculty of the Built Environment), Professor Jolene Skordis (Vice-Dean International, Faculty of Population Health Sciences) and colleagues in Alumni Relations, Global Engagement and Student Recruitment joined Dr Spence in visiting Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou.
UCL academics work with Chinese partners on global challenges, generating real-world impact in areas such as dementia, child health, climate change, sustainable urban development, and food security.
Dr Michael Spence, UCL President & Provost said: “It was so wonderful to be back in mainland China and to be able to meet once again with our remarkable Chinese students, alumni, partners and supporters in person. We have an excellent opportunity to develop deeper and more focused areas of collaboration with colleagues there, learning from each other and doing even more to tackle the most pressing global challenges.”
The delegation enjoyed meeting some of UCL's valuable Chinese partners in person during our recent visit, including Peking University (PKU), Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) and Zhejiang University (ZJU) – with all of whom UCL runs successful joint funding schemes.
UCL's President & Provost Dr Michael Spence met with PKU President Professor Gong Qihuang to discuss future areas of collaboration between our two institutions. He also had fruitful discussions with senior leaders at SJTU, ZJU and Fudan University: Professor Yang Zhenbin (SJTU Chairman of the University Council), Professor Du Jiangfeng and Professor He Lianzhen (respective President and Vice-President of ZJU) and Professor Jin Li (President of Fudan University). They discussed how to build on existing activity to address global challenges, particularly in the fields of climate-related research and health.
UCL has more than 30 formal links with Chinese universities and research institutions. Over the past decade, UCL researchers have published more than 10,000 co-authored papers with Chinese collaborators, across a range of subject areas. Their impactful research has been cited nearly 500,000 times.
During the visit Dr Spence renewed the China Scholarship Council-UCL Joint Research Scholarship, which is helping expand the educational, cultural and scientific co-operation between the UK and China.
At ZJU, he gave a speech on the challenges and rewards of international, interprofessional and interdisciplinary collaboration as part of their Global Lecture Series in the Qiushi Lecture Hall, named after ZJU’s motto (“seeking truth and pursuing innovation”).
A warm welcome
Chinese alumni welcomed the delegation as part of a series of receptions in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, demonstrating their enthusiasm to form deep and long-lasting UCL connections.
The receptions were complemented by intimate events for rising stars in the alumni community, including a mental-health focused gathering in Hong Kong; a discussion on entrepreneurship, also in Hong Kong; and an exclusive alumni get-together in Singapore.
The delegation also enjoyed meeting with prominent philanthropists and generous existing supporters of UCL. The meetings provided an invaluable opportunity to engage with potential new UCL donors, as well as deepen and strengthen existing relationships.
We also delivered well-received information sessions with current and prospective students, including an event in Beijing for parents of current students and offer holders of UCL, so they could learn more about what it is like to study with us.
At PKU and Fudan University, Dr Spence met with students and answered their questions about international education.
- "Frontiers and Friction – The challenges and rewards of international, interprofessional and interdisciplinary collaboration": Dr Michael Spence speech at ZJU Global Lecture Series
- Dr Michael Spence opinion piece: Why we need a more balanced approach to China
- Read the stories of some of UCL’s Chinese alumni
- Strong bonds: Dr Michael Spence in conversation with the graduates behind BRILINK
- UCL and China
- UCL in East Asia
- UCL seed funding for international collaboration (open until 20 June 2023)