The University of British Columbia has concluded an unprecedented, five-year strategic cooperation agreement with China’s Chongqing government, opening doors to increased academic and research collaborations with universities and research institutes.
The agreement was signed on August 25 in Chongqing by UBC President and Vice-Chancellor Stephen Toope and the director general of the city’s education commission, Mr. Xu Zhou. It is the first time UBC has entered into such a wide-ranging agreement with this level of government in China – the city has provincial government status.
“Chongqing is a strategic location within China for western development,” said Prof. Toope. “This unique agreement builds on UBC’s existing relationship with the city and provides tremendous opportunities for our institutions to join forces to share research, knowledge and innovation, which are key drivers in the global economy.”
Collaborations under the agreement will focus on urban planning and sustainable development, education, law, public policy and international relations, medicine and life sciences, engineering, management and leadership training, as well as the fine arts.
This agreement as well as a number of understandings signed concurrently between UBC and specific academic institutions in Chongqing herald greater cooperation in research, teaching, curriculum development and training.
The Chongqing agreement is the first initiative under UBC’s recently established China Council, which seeks to expand and deepen the university’s exchanges with Chinese academic and research institutions.
“UBC is a global, research intensive university,” said John Hepburn, vice-president, research and international. “Academic collaboration and exchange with China for our students and scholars is simply vital. I am extremely optimistic about the avenues this opens for UBC in China.”
Photos of UBC President Stephen Toope in Chongqing are available for download here
International engagement is central to UBC’s Place and Promise strategic plan, and engagement with China is among the university’s main objectives in this area. UBC has 55 other current collaboration agreements with academic institutions in China, covering diverse research fields, from medicine to engineering and forestry. The office of the Vice-President, Research & International oversees UBC’s international engagement.
Chongqing, located in southwest China on the Yangtse river, is a provincial-level administrative area with a population of 32 million. Chongqing, along with Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin, has provincial government status. The city has 34 institutions of higher education, six of which are first tier universities.
The UBC-Chongqing Strategic Cooperation Agreement was first proposed during a meeting between Vice Mayor Gang WU and Prof. Stephen Toope in December 2012. Vice Mayor Wu received the August 2013 UBC delegation and presided over the signing ceremony.
UBC has existing relationships with three of Chongqing’s first tier institutions: Southwest University, Chongqing University, and Chongqing Medical University. New relationships have now been established with two others: Southwest University of Political Science and Law and Sichuan International Studies University.
The UBC China Council was created earlier this year to enhance engagement with China’s academic institutions, one of the university’s main international engagement goals. (www.chinacouncil.ubc.ca )