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University of Sydney to establish a China presence

26 November 2015
New offshore site to be established in Suzhou, China

A new centre in China will cement our place as the Australian university with the most extensive, coherent and sustainable relationship with China.

Vice-Chancellor Dr Michael Spence and Chancellor Belinda Hutchinson with Mr Yang ZhiPing, Deputy Party Secretary of CPC Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP) Work Committee and Chairman of SIP Administrative Committee

The University of Sydney announced at a ceremony today in Beijing that it will open a centre in China in May 2016. For the first time in the University's 165-year history, an offshore site will be established in Suzhou, China. The new centre will serve as a research and education hub for the University to increase intellectual exchange and collaboration between China and Australia.

The University of Sydney’s Chancellor Belinda Hutchinson said the newly established centre would help cement the University’s place as the Australian university with the most extensive, coherent and sustainable relationship with China.

“The University of Sydney has what we believe is the highest concentration of Chinese expertise in the world outside of China. There are more than 200 academic staff studying China or collaborating with researchers in the country, in a wide range of areas from China's public health system to its economy and cultural history," Ms Hutchinson said.

“This new Suzhou based centre - the first we have established as a major facility outside of Australia - demonstrates how importantly we view our relationship with China.”

The University of Sydney’s Vice-Chancellor, Dr Michael Spence, said the establishment of the centre was a key plank in the University’s China Strategy.

“Our strategy for China has the in-country centre at its heart. The University established the China Studies Centre in Sydney in recognition of the depth and breadth of expertise of our people. It is time that we take the next step and open a companion centre in China. Having both centres signals our ambition to be the leading University for intellectual engagement with China and the Asia-Pacific region more generally,” Dr Spence said.

The centre in Suzhou will employ up to 10 staff and fulfill the following functions:

  • Act as an incubator for joint Australia-China research programs
  • Offer short- and long-term attachments for academic staff from the University of Sydney and their academic collaborators from local partner institutions
  • Facilitate research and industry collaboration and liaison
  • Provide a base for the delivery of joint-venture teaching programs in collaboration with Chinese universities, such as intensive subjects and units of study, non-award courses and executive programs
  • Promote the University of Sydney to a broad range of audiences – government, local industry, counterpart universities, and prospective students
  • Facilitate in-country placements, internships and other learning experiences for Australian students in China
  • Host research seminars and symposia, in-country language programs, academic conferences and conventions
  • Conduct alumni relations activities, with the potential to become the administrative hub for alumni living in mainland China and Hong Kong.

The University of Sydney selected Suzhou as the site of the centre due to the educational infrastructure in the Suzhou Industrial Park, which currently houses several universities, both domestic and foreign. Suzhou was also chosen for its close proximity to Shanghai.

It is anticipated the centre will begin operations from June 2016.

The University of Sydney has a long history of engagement with China, and has been Australia’s leading university in this respect. In 1979, it was the first university in Australia to welcome Chinese students after the Cultural Revolution. There are now almost 6000 Chinese students studying at the University of Sydney.

Sally Sitou

Media and PR Adviser (International)
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