Led by Senior Vice-Principal, Professor Charlie Jeffery, a delegation from the University visited key cities in East Asia this May.
Edinburgh’s links with China go back to the 19th Century. The first Chinese student to graduate from a British university received his MD from Edinburgh in 1855.
Since then the growth in the student population has mirrored the shift of economic gravity to China and its neighbours. At the turn of the millennium the number of Chinese students at Edinburgh was just over 400, now we welcome more than six times that number.
Edinburgh also has strong associations with Peking, Fudan and Hong Kong Universities through the prestigious international ‘Universitas 21’ network, and active partnerships with a great many others.
May’s trip, which included alumni events in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore, aimed to support our alumni networks and develop our partnerships with leading universities in, what has become, one of the most important parts of the world for the University.
In Shanghai, an unprecedented 150 alumni turned out to hear the latest news about the University, including a presentation from Professor Mike Shipston, Dean of Biomedical Sciences, about a new biomedical sciences collaboration with Zhejiang University.
The agreement is the first of its kind for a Scottish university. A four-year degree will be taught entirely in English by Edinburgh and Zhejiang academics at Zhejiang’s new international campus in Hainan and is expected to attract a total of 600 students from China and South East Asia.
In Hong Kong and Singapore alumni had the opportunity to hear from Professor James Smith, Vice-Principal International, on what internationalisation means for universities and from the University’s Vice-Principal of Global Access, Sue Welburn on scientific research and social investment.
The Hong Kong event also featured a presentation from Dr Andy Kerr, the executive director of the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation (ECCI) about the centre’s activities and ambitions for working in Hong Kong and East Asia.
This trip re-emphasised to me the huge opportunities for the University to apply its research insights – from many different disciplinary backgrounds – to help tackle pressing social challenges in Hong Kong and more widely in China.
Each event gave alumni the chance to meet old friends, make new connections and to find out about the latest developments at the University. With over 10,000 alumni across the region we look forward to growing the Edinburgh network in Asia.
The University's China and East Asia blog has been updated throughout the course of the ten day trip and provides further information regarding the various activities and events.