Vice-Chancellor Professor Steve Smith speaking at Tsinghua University.

Exeter Vice-Chancellor returns to Beijing

Following his visit to China accompanying the British Prime Minister David Cameron last week, Professor Steve Smith returned to Beijing to address an audience at Tsinghua University - one of China's leading research universities.

He addressed staff and students on the role of universities in the global economy and the skills students require to be successful in careers that will be increasingly international in nature. Exeter and Tsinghua faculty are collaborating in areas as diverse as functional materials, astrophysics, law, environmental biology, English, water systems and others.

Professor Smith said "The University of Exeter has just opened an Office in Beijing to further develop our partnerships with Tsinghua and the China University of Political Science and Law.  Together with a sister Office in Shanghai, the University is investing heavily in partnership development so that staff and students benefit from engagement with some of the very best universities in the world.

“Education and research are central to the increasingly close relations between the UK and China. The future growth and prosperity of both our countries will depend on research, innovation and skills. These are all vital if we are to succeed as first-rank, knowledge economies.”

While David Cameron was in China, he supported Professor Smith’s sentiments about the importance of international links and praised Exeter among other top UK universities which are competing on the world stage and helping to build these links for learning, research and commerce. He said: "I think our universities are a real advantage that we have [in the UK]. Not just Oxford and Cambridge, but Imperial College, UCL, Manchester, Exeter and Newcastle. We have some great universities in Britain and I think they are a really good way of having links between our country and other countries."

Professor Smith also hosted a reception for over 100 alumni in Beijing and gave a short speech celebrating Exeter's recent successes, including recognition that Exeter has been ranked as a World Top-200 University by Times Higher Education / Thompson Reuters.  His visit to Beijing follows a successful trip to Hong Kong.  Later in the week Professor Smith will travel onto Shanghai to host an alumni reception.

Date: 18 November 2010

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