UCL Department of Physics and Astronomy


UCL visits Peking University and Chinese Academy of Sciences

29 November 2016

Delegates outside National Centre for Nanoscience and Technology, China (Credit: Professor Xiao Guo)


In September, Professor Nikolaos Konstantinidis, Vice-Dean (International) for the UCL Mathematical & Physical Sciences Faculty, headed a visit to China to meet some of the top academic institutions.

Funding from the UCL Global Engagement Office enabled the delegation of five academic staff to visit PKU for a series of workshops, meetings and lab visits. The research areas identified for collaboration included nanomaterials for clean energy, geosciences, particle physics and applied mathematics. The delegation were also able to explore possibilities for PhD scholarship funding, joint PhD programmes, and undergraduate student exchange or summer internship programmes.
 “A year ago UCL hosted a visit from a Peking University (PKU) delegation and my Faculty wanted to return this visit, to explore opportunities for further collaboration with PKU and also the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).” Professor Konstantinidis explained.

The visit was a success and both sides were able to learn a lot. In particle physics, many synergies were identified between the research groups in the two universities, even though they are involved in different experiments. For example, both UCL and PKU have teams working on the Large Hadron Collider, albeit in the two different large experiments, ATLAS (A Toroidal LHC Apparatus) CMS (Compact Muon Solenoid) respectively. Nonetheless, during the presentations and discussions they realised that they are working on similar data analysis topics and similar technical projects.

Another synergy was in the Dark Matter search. UCL has an ICP Mass Spectrometer for radio-purity measurements, which is unique in the UK. During the visit, the delegates discovered that PKU have the same instrument but they are using it for a different Dark Matter experiment.

Being able to visit an academic partner in person in this way meant that the delegation could raise the profile of key UCL MAPS activities and learn about the corresponding areas in PKU and Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), as well as explore ways to develop closer links with them.

“For example, we agreed to pursue organising PKU-UCL mini-workshops on topical subjects such as particle physics, nanotechnology and their applications in the health sector,” said Professor Konstantinidis.

All delegates identified matching research interests with the PKU hosts and came back to the UK with many points of contact and ideas to follow-up in the medium term future.



  • Delegates outside National Centre for Nanoscience and Technology, China (Credit: Professor Xiao Guo)