The University of Edinburgh has established a new China research centre in collaboration with Peking University., Monday April 30 2012
The University of
Edinburgh has established a new China research centre in
collaboration with Peking University. Natascha Gentz, Edinburgh
University's Chair of Chinese and Dean
International (China) explains
What is the
National China Research Centre?
It's an initiative by Chinese State Councillor Madame Liu
Yandong (the highest ranking female politician in the Communist
Party of China). She approached Peking University to find a partner
for establishing a centre of UK research in Peking, and a centre of
China research in Britain. Because we have long-standing relations
and good links with Peking University, they approached us. Peking
is just one of the best universities in China, so we couldn't
possibly have a better partner.
What will it do?
We want to train a new cohort of China specialists, particularly
in Scotland, because there's only one university at the moment that
has Chinese studies as a subject, and that's Edinburgh. Both the
National China Research Centre at Edinburgh and the National UK
Research Centre at Peking will carry out research on subject areas
including economics, politics and culture in collaboration with
their partner university. We'll design joint research projects,
have staff and student exchanges, visiting fellowships, and
scholarships for students. We'll also design courses or curricula
related to the joint research projects we develop.
What existing links does the University have with China
and why is this one important?
We collaborate very actively with Chinese partners and have
links with 40 to 50 Chinese universities across the country. Most
of the collaborations are around science, engineering and medicine,
so this centre is really important because it focuses on the
humanities and social sciences. We also have a China office in
Peking and the Confucius Institute for
Scotland, established in 2006 to aid understanding and
engagement between Scotland and China.
What excites you most about the Centre's
It's really exciting to have this opportunity to work with
colleagues at Peking University and to work in both directions. For
example, looking at early British travellers to China and Chinese
travellers to Scotland. China can be complicated and is not always
well understood, but it's one of the most important countries, so
it's important to know what's going on. China also wants people to
understand more about contemporary Britain, so it's a great
opportunity for knowledge transfer.