The Russell Group, an association of the UK’s top research-intensive institutions, has signed an agreement with Chinese universities to boost research and innovation between the two nations.

A delegation of eight Vice-Chancellors from the group paid a visit to Shanghai recently to meet with representatives of the China 9 (C9) League, the Chinese equivalent of the U.S. Ivy League.

The Russell Group-China 9 Dialogue was co-chaired by Zhang Jie, president of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and Professor David Greenaway, chair of the Russell Group and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nottingham.

During the dialogue, university leaders discussed how to best tackle challenges and seize opportunities shared by the universities through the partnership.

Some of the topics covered included student and faculty mobility, knowledge sharing, and new approaches to complex global challenges, such as food security and the digital economy.

Greenaway said he believed the two groups have an important role to play.

“Our universities are international institutions that thrive on their academic links around the world. They recognise that big scientific, economic and social challenges will only be solved when the best minds work together through global research collaboration. There are huge mutual benefits for Russell Group universities and China’s leading universities to work together,” he said, as reported by China Daily USA.

Speaking to Times Higher Education, Greenaway said that working closely with China will bring together the best talent from around the world to help solve global challenges.

“This is very much Asia’s century and we need to be part of that. China’s growth has been astounding over the past 20 years and that has underpinned a big investment in research and development,” he said.

The universities also plan to tap into funding schemes that both the UK and China contribute to.

The delegation of Russell Group Vice-Chancellors included the University of the Birmingham, Cardiff University, University of Glasgow, Queen’s University Belfast, University College London, University of Warwick, and University of York.

While the C9 League is comprised of Peking University, Tsinghua University, Fudan University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Harbin Institute of Technology, Nanjing University, the University of Science and Technology of China, Xi’an Jiaotong University, and Zhejiang University.

Image via Russell Group

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