Sheffield university president talks electric cars on bridge-building trip to China

Sir Keith Burnett on a previous trip to Nanjing, China.
Sir Keith Burnett on a previous trip to Nanjing, China.
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A Sheffield university is building further links with China with discussions on the production of electric cars.

Sir Keith Burnett, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Sheffield, spent time in Beijing earlier this month to meet top officials from education and industry.

He and Peking University president Jianhua Lin discussed the potential to share expertise on new materials that could be used in hybrid and electric cars. Sir Keith also met members of the Chinese government ministry responsible for research and industrial collaboration and held discussions with longstanding university partners from Beijing and Nanjing.

He said: “I am really delighted to see the way our university's partnerships are growing in China with the country's most highly-regarded universities and with industry.

“Like the UK, China is committed to innovation and moving on from being a low-wage economy. There are tremendous opportunities for us to innovate together and develop new products in areas such as next generation vehicles which will also open up exciting research and business opportunities in the UK, including in our own region."

Last year Sheffield Council signed a high profile investment deal with Chinese firm Sichuan Guodong, and other Chinese and Asian investors are also looking to spend their money in Sheffield.

Sir Keith added: "On this trip I've also held discussions with our longstanding partners at Nanjing University with whom we work on the very latest technologies on semi-conductors and other exciting areas of science and engineering.

"We are looking forward to hosting senior visits from both Beijing and Nanjing over the next couple of months and developing together even stronger partnerships in such key areas as advanced manufacturing, engineering and science."

The University of Sheffield is already working in China on a wide range of projects, including with the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology which is responsible for the Chinese space programme.

The University's Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre is focusing on light-weight, high-performance materials - the same area of advanced manufacturing and materials which will be crucial to next-generation electric vehicles and which underpin the University's research relationship with McLaren supercars.