The University of Sheffield has signed an agreement with a Chinese university which will pave the way for student exchanges,
The partnership with Shanghai Jiao Tong University means both sets of undergraduate students will have the opportunity to experience new academic and cultural environments by taking part in new exchange programmes.
Professor Sir Keith Burnett, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Sheffield, said: “This agreement marks a further strengthening of the partnership links between our two universities.
“The University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) and Shanghai Jiao Tong University are already collaborators in a pioneering joint research institute with the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology (SAST) and I was delighted to see this work for myself and meet science engineering colleagues from Shanghai Jiao Tong on my last visit to Shanghai.”
He added: "SAST is a key partner in China's space programme, which includes the development of the Tiangong 3 Space Station, scheduled for launch in 2020.
"The AMRC will work with SAST to develop strong thin-walled structures for commercial rockets. Our shared scholarship in such an exciting area is truly inspiring, and I'm delighted that now our students will also be able to experience one another's universities."
The University of Sheffield is home to almost 3,000 Chinese students, a Chinese speaking vice-chancellor, the Confucius Institute of the Year and is a leading voice for China in the UK.
Sir Keith is a founder of the Sheffield China Gateway scheme which is being developed by partners across the city to support inward investment and Chinese businesses, students and individuals who wish to visit, live or work in Sheffield.
Dorte Stevenson, head of partnerships and global opportunities at the University of Sheffield, added: “I am absolutely delighted that the exchange agreement between Shanghai Jiao Tong University and the University of Sheffield has been established.
"This will provide wonderful opportunities for students from both universities to experience a different academic and cultural environment.”
President Zhen Huang, vice president for international affairs at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, which has the number one Mechanical Engineering school in China and is supporting the build of the first Chinese aeroplanes, said: “We are a very international university.
“As the second oldest university in China founded in 1896 we look to partner universities globally and look at the potential for joint areas of study and we have designed special programmes for overseas students.
"We really welcome Sheffield students and will give them the opportunity to study a huge range of subjects as well as the Chinese language and we will encourage our students to come to Sheffield.
"At the moment over 40 per cent of our Shanghai Jiao Tong students have some experience of studying abroad and we hope to increase that to 50 per cent as we truly value the impact overseas study has for young people."
In addition to existing collaborations in engineering, the Sheffield and Shanghai partners discussed shared interests in science, social science and urban policy and potential collaboration in the arts and humanities.