Cover Story

Local campus, global vision

Updated: 2011-07-22 10:56

By Nick Miles (China Daily European Weekly)

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Local campus, global vision

The University of Nottingham decided to expand its reach into other countries because it recognizes that higher education is global: Knowledge is not constrained by boundaries. Operating globally allows us to work with the brightest and best students and staff and to deliver unique educational experiences that are highly relevant to modern business and industry and which better equip graduates to thrive in a fiercely competitive, globalized workplace.

Our first international branch campus, in Malaysia, recently celebrated its 10th birthday. The University of Nottingham Ningbo China, established in 2004, was the second major step in the university's internationalization strategy.

The 21st century is Asia's century - and China's in particular. Its economic strength and its growing demand for higher education with a move toward establishing a knowledge economy means that it is the perfect place for universities to be focusing their attention. The demand here in China for international higher education is strong, but only a limited section of the population can afford to travel overseas to experience it.

The University of Nottingham has a major research focus. Its reputation for delivering internationally-excellent research is the reason it is part of the UK's Russell Group of universities, which is an elite group of research-focused universities that includes Oxford and Cambridge.

Working on an international scale makes it easier for The University of Nottingham to undertake its research in partnership with other institutions and in different settings. For example, we can undertake research relating to climate change more effectively through a physical presence in diverse environments.

We are already making huge progress in potentially world-changing research at our Ningbo branch campus. Recently, scientists at our Centre for Sustainable Energy Technologies were in a position to reveal that they have invented a new building material that can dramatically reduce the carbon footprint generated by the construction sector - the biggest contributor to carbon emissions in the world after the aviation industry.

This research project is being conducted in conjunction with local partners, like the Ningbo city authorities and private sector funders, who are looking for new technologies to tackle the world's biggest challenges. The next phase entails developing this material further and facilitating its mass production.

Of significance to our students is that they are taught by the same scientists who are making important contributions to the advancement of knowledge. In the case of our postgraduates, they get the opportunity to work on projects like these and, in so doing, are playing a key role in innovative scientific development here in China. This, in turn, means our students are in demand among global organizations looking for scientists to deliver cutting-edge technologies.

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