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China joins Worldwide Universities Network

Posted on 23 April 2002

The Universities of Nanjing and Zhejiang are the first universities in China to join the Worldwide Universities Network, the higher education alliance formed by six UK and five US universities.

A delegation from WUN reached the groundbreaking agreement during a visit to China in April.

Nanjing and Zhejiang are amongst the small number of top-rated Chinese universities that the Chinese Ministry of Education have identified to lead the massive increase in research and educational capability in the country.

WUN chief executive Dr David Pilsbury was in China with representatives from a number of the WUN partner universities. The delegation reached agreement with Nanjing and Zhejiang Universities on the development of online distributed learning resources, collaboration in research, and the exchange of staff and students. They also met senior managers and fellow academics in the universities that are now partners in the innovative WUN alliance.

Online learning across the globe is already being pioneered by WUN. The eUniversity's fast-track pilot programme in Public Policy and Management is hosted by the University of York and has contributions from other WUN partners. The WUN delegation met with representatives of the Chinese Ministry of Education and the British Council to explore plans for the joint development of this programme and one in Biomedical Informatics.

Describing the successful conclusion of the visit, Dr David Pilsbury said: "We've had an excellent visit and forged an incredibly exciting link to universities that are at the very forefront of research and educational initiatives in China. Both research and education are developing very rapidly and we are delighted to enter into this partnership which allows institutions working together to do things of a scale or scope that are beyond that of individual universities.

"We examined the opportunities for staff and graduate student exchanges to underpin the development of long-term research links. We also explored how we can collaborate effectively in the development and delivery of digital material, to meet the very rapidly developing need for education within China."

The first joint activity is likely to involve collaboration in the development and delivery of the Masters in Public Policy and Management, but it is expected that this will be rapidly followed by staff and student exchange. WUN already has a Global Exchange Programme (GEP). This $1 million scheme supports short term visits between the partner institutions and is to be opened up to corporate partners. This has been recognised by staff and students as an extremely effective way of enhancing the awardees' experience and building links between research groups.

Notes to editors:

  • The Worldwide Universities Network was formed in January 2001. Partner organisations are the Universities of Bristol, Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield, Southampton and York in the UK and Pennsylvania State University, University of California, San Diego, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Washington, Seattle and University of Wisconsin-Madison in the USA.
  • WUN aims to enable research links in areas of global significance, support exchanges of staff and students between partner organisations and share developments in online teaching resources. New members are being added to WUN

Contact details

David Garner
Senior Press Officer

Tel: +44 (0)1904 322153