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Chinese Strategic Partner Research Workshop

12 October 2015

Loughborough/China Research Collaboration Workshop.

The August 17th and 18th saw the first ever research collaboration workshop between Loughborough School of Electronic, Electrical and Systems and its Chinese strategic partners from Beijing and Xi’an in China. This workshop was organised by Dr Rob Edwards who has been working on the schools strategic partnerships plan for several years.

Dinner at Browns Lane with Chris Backhouse and Chinese Academics ‌ 

Dinner at Loughborough's Browns Lane Restaurant 

The purpose of the workshop was to encourage collaborative research between the UK and China. This was the second workshop of the series, the first having been concerned with collaborative teaching, which took place in 2013. 

The new Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research who presented an overview of research across the campus kicked off the workshop. Professor Chris Backhouse who is the assistant dean for teaching then introduced the school. 

To set the scene talks were then given by Peter Townsend who is the head of our research office, Ellie Gilven from our main funding body the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and Colm Watling of Loughborough University’s enterprise office. 

Overview presentations were then given the by four Chinese teams.  Attending from China were delegates from Beijing Jiaotong University, the Communications University of China, the Beijing Institute of Technology and Xidian University from Xi’an. The disciplines represented were Electronic, Electrical, Communications, Control, Systems, Mechanical and Telecommunications Engineering.  

Planning the workshop took over a year so we were all very pleased when everything ran like clockwork. In 2011 our school began to establish links with Chinese Universities to encourage joint teaching and research. This involved academics from Loughborough visiting China every year. Of the ten Universities considered for partnerships five signed memorandums and subsequently four agreed to joint teaching provision at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Xidian Professors discuss Research at Loughborough

Chinese Stragetgic Parters discuss research with UK Academics at Loughborough University. 

In 2013 we arranged a teaching workshop and we began to work on harmonising taught content relating to any teaching agreements. This required exchange of curricula details and information about any prerequisites. Particularly important was knowledge of the structure of our programmes. This allowed us to select appropriate material and levels for courses taught in the UK but that could be recognised by Chinese Universities.

Amanda Pearce, our External Relations Manager took over responsibility for the publicity of any joint teaching programmes. For teaching this included publicity via web and printed matter of things like course content for 3+1+1; prerequisites and outcomes and any scholarships, bursaries or special discounts. Amanda’s goal has been to encourage student and staff participation in the agreed joint projects for research and teaching. We also appointed an admissions coordinator with responsibility for assessing student suitable for the programmes. Based on material provided by the student, information given to us by the Chinese institution and knowledge of the course content we can now decide if a student will be able engage with the programme properly.

In 2014 we began work on organizing a research workshop. Since this was the first workshop of it type at Loughborough, and probably in the UK a new blueprint had to be created from scratch.  This workshop was to be used to inform our partners about our own researchers and to seek to identify possible joint work and opportunities for funding bids between the institutions.  Other goals were to gather information about grant proposals, funding for sabbaticals and similar financial sources of support.

A first initiative involved creating a research template for our academics to complete. We were interested in what research our own staff was doing as well as identifying what themes they might like to collaborate on with researchers from China. The templates were completed by our own teams and circulated at the workshop. 

Focused research talks were presented for Advanced Signal Processing, Renewable Energy Systems Technology, Control Systems, Wireless Communications, Healthcare Technology and Systems Engineering.  

Several new and interesting collaborations are now beginning as a result of this event. A white paper of UK/China research collaboration is being formulated and work has begun a proposals for a Chinese side research workshop in 2016.


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