Professor Sir Steve Smith and Professor Chen Xu.

Exeter and Tsinghua establish jointly-awarded Doctoral degree programme

The University of Exeter and Tsinghua University have launched a jointly-awarded PhD degree programme in climate and environmental sciences, it has been announced.

The doctoral programme will support six students to be co-supervised between Tsinghua’s Department of Earth System Science and two Colleges at Exeter that conduct research on earth systems and environmental sciences.

The jointly-awarded degree programme reinforces the substantial research collaboration currently being developed between leading academics from Exeter and Tsinghua in these crucial fields of research.

A formal partnership agreement for this innovative new doctoral programme was signed by Professor Chen Xu, Chairperson of Tsinghua University Council, and the Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Exeter, Professor Sir Steve Smith, during a recent high-level visit to China.

Sir Steve said:  “I am delighted to meet again with Dr Chen Xu here in Beijing, after she and I discussed developing this jointly-awarded PhD programme last November. 

“We are delighted that, through this agreement, we will bring together the talent of students and supervisors from Exeter and Tsinghua to develop research which will contribute to some of the world’s most pressing issues, such as environmental change.”

Professor Chen Xu of Tsinghua University said: “Exeter and Tsinghua share extensive research links in science, engineering and social sciences and we are working towards a more comprehensive and substantial partnership in the years to come. The jointly awarded doctoral programme is one of the key outcomes of the continued and committed research collaboration in cutting-edge science.”

The joint programme will provide opportunities for students, who can potentially be funded by the China Scholarship Council (CSC), to access cutting-edge academic training and supervision from the universities’ combined research strengths and synergies in Earth Systems.

The Department of Geography at Exeter has been ranked 15th globally by QS World University Rankings by Subject.  It is also ranked 4th in the UK for research in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences.

Tsinghua University was established in 1911 and is one of nine members of the elite ‘C9 League’ of universities in China. It is the most highly ranked university in China, placed at 25th in QS World University Rankings 2017/18. The Times Higher Education Rankings by subject for 2018 rank its Engineering and Technology as the 22nd strongest in the world.

The Department of Earth System Science, also known as the Institute for Global Change Studies at Tsinghua University, shares substantial research synergies with Exeter in climate change, environment, human health and sustainability.

Date: 21 November 2017

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