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York strengthens academic links with China

Posted on 1 April 2008

The University of York, in partnership with Nanjing University, will host a series of seminars focusing on nanoscience, social policy and how enterprise skills and knowledge are incorporated into academic programmes, to increase the employability of Chinese students at both universities.

The two universities have also signed a memorandum of understanding at a special ceremony in Nanjing to reinforce their research links.

The first seminar in the series at Nanjing University on 2 April will incorporate initiatives at both universities to increase the employability of students by encouraging enterprise, innovation, and knowledge transfer. With nearly 700 Chinese students, the University of York recognises the importance of identifying the skills they need to increase their competitiveness in the jobs market.

We are pleased to take this opportunity to reinforce our already strong research ties with Nanjing University, one of our most valued international partners

Professor Brian Cantor

The second joint seminar will focus on spintronics, a field of nanotechnology research that promises to revolutionise electronics, and an area in which the two universities already have close links. The third joint seminar, on Social Policy, will concentrate on Chinese experiences in transition, the critical development of welfare state typologies and housing in relation to comparative social policy.

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of York, Professor Brian Cantor, said: "We are pleased to take this opportunity to reinforce our already strong research ties with Nanjing University, one of our most valued international partners. These seminars will be a wonderful platform for academics to share ideas on learning, knowledge transfer and research for the benefit of our respective universities, and of all people."

Subject delegations from University of York will be led by Dr Chris Henshall, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for External Relations; Dr Yongbing Xu, of the Department of Electronics and Professor Mary Maynard, Head of the Department of Social Policy.

The memorandum of understanding was signed today by the President of Nanjing University, Professor Chen Jun, and Professor Cantor. The agreement will include joint programmes of research between the two universities, exchange of invitations to lectures, talks and conferences, of staff and students for study and research as well as an increased sharing of information and publications of mutual interest.

Professor Cantor was also awarded an Honorary Professorship from Nanjing University for his work in Materials Science.

"Nanjing University is very keen to build academic cooperation with the University of York. I believe that as members of the Worldwide Universities Network, both of our schools will benefit from our Memorandum of Understanding. I am delighted to confer the title of Honorary Professor of Nanjing University on Professor Brian Cantor for his contributions to materials science. To promote cooperation between our two universities, we hope to set up the ‘Nanjing-York Joint Centre’, with our first task to create a spintronics lab. I believe this is a good beginning for our future co-operation," said Professor Chen.

"It is an enormous honour and a privilege to be invited to be a member of such a highly respected Chinese university", said Professor Cantor.


Notes to editors:

  • The University of York, founded in 1963, has 12,000 students, 3,000 staff and more than 30 academic departments and research centres. From its inception, the University has concentrated on strong viable departments and teaching and research of the highest quality. York is 74th in the latest QS/Times Higher Education Supplement rankings of the world’s top 200 universities. The University has ambitious plans for growth. This includes plans for a 50 per cent growth in student numbers - much of it focused on postgraduate and international students - and significant research expansion and spin-out activity.
  • Nanjing University is one of China's key comprehensive universities and it functions directly under the Ministry of Education. Since China’s reform and opening, Nanjing University has gradually developed multi-disciplinary programs in humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, technological sciences, life sciences, modern engineering and management. At present, Nanjing University has 17 schools with 50 departments. It runs 74 undergraduate programs, 186 masters programs (with six programs designated by the University itself), seven professional masters programs; 16 primary disciplines for doctoral degrees, and 122 PhD programs (with six programs designated by the University itself) as well as 18 post-doctoral stations. In addition, the University has 28 national key disciplines, 10 provincial key disciplines, and 6 national key laboratories. It also houses 11 national training bases for the research and teaching personnel in basic sciences and liberal arts, and three bases for humanities and social sciences research appraised by the Chinese Ministry of Education.
  • Spintronics (spin-based electronics) is an emerging field of study within Nanotechnology. Where Electronics makes use of the charge of an electron to accomplish certain tasks, Spintronics uses electron spin as well as charge to manipulate information processing circuits. Spintronic devices combine the advantages of magnetic materials and semi-conductors, and are likely to be stable, versatile, fast and capable of simultaneous data storage as well as being energy-efficient. Spintronics has the potential to secure significant developments in advanced data storage, microelectronics, automotive sensors, communication and quantum computing. It will enable greater miniaturisation of semiconductors, resulting in smaller, more powerful and energy efficient devices. Today, Spintronic devices can be found in certain hard disk drives and RAM modules.
  • Both Nanjing and York are members of the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN), a partnership of 16 research-led universities from Asia, Australasia, Europe and North America. The WUN alliance exists to make significant advances in knowledge and understanding in areas of current global concern. By fostering and encouraging collaboration between members, WUN brings together the experience, equipment and expertise necessary to tackle the big issues currently facing societies, governments, corporations and education.

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David Garner
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