Chair of Board--Professor Sir Keith Burnett

理事会主席— 凯思·博纳特爵士教授

Professor Sir Keith Burnett, the President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield during 2009-2018, acts directly as the Chair for the Board of Confucius Institute at the University of Sheffield.

Having discovered an interest in China during his first visit there, Sir Keith has since visited the country many times, and is now a speaker of Mandarin Chinese.

Confucius institute: a beam of light illuminating one another

An article Confucius Institute - A beam of light that mutually illuminates was originally published in the People’s Daily Overseas Edition in October, 2016.

Sir Keith said: "the Confucius Institute shines like a beam of light illuminating one another. As we listen to and learn from one another, all our people and the world will benefit." He also said, such a "bridge" as the Confucius Institute reinforced mutual cooperation and brought about opportunities for both our universities and students to work together on global challenge projects.

SCI serves as a bridge between the UK and China especially in the areas of business, industry and healthcare. It actively acts as a bridge back to China as well as a bridge from China to the UK.

The Road to Collaboration - The President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield on China

Road bookIn the UK and internationally, Professor Burnett is frequently asked to comment on how the UK can develop a meaningful knowledge economy and innovative partnership between universities and business. In Sheffield he has supported the development of an Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District with university partnerships with over 100 companies in aerospace, automotive, civil nuclear energy and healthcare technologies. As part of this, the University has been the first of its kind in the UK to develop industry- supported degree apprenticeships in engineering, with 600 young people studying in this way in a world-leading research centre.

He is also co-founder of the #weareinternational campaign which welcomes international students and scholars to the UK, now supported by over 100 UK universities.

Sir Keith is a regular commentator in the UK and international media on issues of education, science and innovation and the economy. Publications, speeches and interviews from Professor Sir Keith Burnett during 2014-2017 were selected, translated and published in his book The Road to Collaboration - The President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield on China, Published by Xinhua Publishing House.

In 2014 and in 2016, Sir Keith was awarded the prestigious Individual Performance Excellence award from the Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong in recognition of his contribution to the greater understanding of Chinese language and culture.

Chinese Honour for the Chair of the Sheffield Confucius Institute——Sir Keith

University of Sheffield Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Keith Burnett was awarded an Individual Performance Excellence award by the People’s Republic of China on 10 December 2016.

The award recognises outstanding personal service to increasing the understanding of Chinese language, peoples and culture and reflects an exceptional contribution to enhancing educational and business links between the UK and China.The honour was presented by Vice-Premier Liu Yandong at the 11th annual global conference of the Confucius Institute in Kunming in China.

It is the second time Sir Keith has received this award, marking an unusual recognition of his efforts to build closer educational and business links between the UK and China.

Working with China brings opportunities and investment to Sheffield

Professor Sir Keith Burnett, vice-chancellor of the University of Sheffield, responded to criticism of Confucius Institutes that are established at universities across the world.

In late October, leading British business newspaper the Financial Times (FT) published an article. While acknowledging the mission of Confucius Institutes is to satisfy overseas demand for learning Chinese, it quoted an unnamed U.S. professor suggesting the centers amount to one country interfering with the education process of another.
Burnett, who is also head of the science and innovation board for the Sheffield City Region, a large industrial area in the heart of Britain, hit back at the criticisms in a letter to the FT.
Burnett said his response letter to the FT was submitted "to correct a misunderstanding that seems to have arisen about the role of Confucius Institutes, as I know them."

University of Sheffield agrees engineering exchange with China and the US

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield has today (28 September 2016) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Nanjing University to contribute to an innovative tripartite exchange programme that also involves Ohio State University in the US.

University of Sheffield makes advanced manufacturing links to China's space programme

The University of Sheffield's Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre and the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology have today (26 September 2016) signed an agreement to launch a new joint research institute.

•University’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) signs agreement to launch new joint research institute with the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology (SAST)
•SAST is working on the development of the Tiangong Space Station, scheduled for launch in 2020
•AMRC will work with SAST to develop thin-walled structures for commercial rockets

Vice-Chancellor brings message of UK science and innovation to China

The University of Sheffield's Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Keith Burnett this morning (24 September 2016) spoke of the importance of China-UK collaboration in science and technology in a keynote address at the Pujiang Innovation Forum in China.

Sir Keith, President of the UK's Science Council, addressed the opening plenary of China's most prestigious innovation event, which is hosted by China’s Minister of Science and Technology and attracts over 700 senior government officials, academics, business people and entrepreneurs from China and overseas.

Speaking in Chinese and English, the Vice-Chancellor highlighted how both countries must join together to address society's biggest challenges, including feeding the world sustainably, building environmentally sustainable cities, improving healthcare for all and developing a sustainable economy which creates growth through science and innovation.

He was awarded the honour for his work with the UK government and Universities UK International to share a better understanding of UK-Chinese collaboration.

Sir Keith attends Pujiang Innovation Forum —— the China’s biggest innovation event

Our Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Keith Burnett attended the China’s biggest innovation event, Pujiang Innovation Forum on 24 September 2016,highlighting how science and technology can drive growth and opportunities.

Our students Thomas and Danielle performed "Meeting at the Balcony(Romeo and Juliet)" for the distinguished guests, which reserved high praise.

With significance for the ambitions set out in our Strategic Plan, the visit also highlights the importance of collaboration between China and the UK, helping us forge key partnerships across the world.

Perspectives: UK-China, Exhibition of Chinese and UK Artwork

VC and Dr. SunTraditional Chinese brush painting, intricate calligraphy and stunning photography was on display during a showcase of Chinese and UK culture at the University of Sheffield (Wednesday 19 October to Friday 21 October 2016).

 A four-day public exhibition, Perspectives: UK-China, celebrated both China and the UK through the lens of Chinese art, photography and film documentary.

Chinese artist and diplomat Wang Ying showcased ‘Britain though the eyes of a Chinese artist’ through his traditional Chinese brush paintings that encapsulate the culture and spirit of the UK, while prize-winning pictures collected during a competition by Sheffield Confucius Institute showcased China through British lenses.

Winner photoBritain though the eyes of a Chinese artistThe event also included a screening of documentary ‘China through your Eyes’, which featured British academics, students, business people and leaders offering their own insightful views of China based on their own experiences in the country.

Dr Sun Dali, Consul General, and Wang Ying, Consul and Head of Education Section, The Consulate General of the PR China in Manchester attended the launch of the exhibition on Tuesday (18 October 2016).

Chinese and UK culture celebrated in art exhibition

Sheffield prepares for new era of UK-China trade

University of Sheffield and Sheffield Chamber of Commerce to establish new Sheffield Confucius Business Gateway for China in the North.

Following the announcement of the largest investment by China in the UK outside of London, the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Chamber of Commerce have announced that they are joining forces with the Sheffield University Confucius Institute and other partners to establish a world-class Sheffield Confucius Business Gateway for China in the North.

The announcement is being made today (Wednesday 27 July 2016) in China by University of Sheffield Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Keith Burnett as he meets with Sheffield Confucius Institute partners from Nanjing and Beijing in Nanjing - formerly the capital city of China, which has a population the same size as London.

Sir Keith, a longstanding advocate of UK-Chinese partnership, is convinced that long-term partnership with China is vital to the UK and will create jobs and prosperity in both nations.

"China is a quarter of the world's population," he says, "and we face many similar challenges around energy, sustainable jobs and healthcare as our populations age. If we can pool our expertise and energy over years and decades, we have the potential to do real good in the world and to bring a powerful boost to the future economy of the UK's Northern Powerhouse."

''Confucius Institutes around the world are committed to building bridges with China, but in Sheffield we have worked with our Chairman Professor Sir Keith Burnett to develop a very strong focus on industry and health.''
Dr Lucy Zhao, Director of Sheffield Confucius Institute

Sir Keith Burnett stresses importance of international outlook for steel industry

VC_BBC_InterviewSpeaking on BBC Asian Business Report, 6th April 2016, our Vice-Chancellor Sir Keith Burnett spoke about the need for a long term plan with an international outlook for the worldwide steel industry, and the importance of the UK's relationship with China.

Sir Keith said he was optimistic about part of the deal as there is a market for high end steel manufacturing, but the situation is tougher for traditional steel production and a long term plan is paramount.

The impact on the steel industry in China, where millions of jobs have been lost, was also discussed and Sir Keith stressed the importance of international collaboration and developing high value steel components for a fast-growing market.

Sir Keith said: "We should be very careful to not just blame China. Britain has under-invested in parts of its steel industry and it's old and will have to change anyway but there's a worldwide glut of steel, partly because of the downturn in construction, partly because of a downturn in the gas industry - people aren't making so much with steel these days."

Sir Keith Burnett talks to Sky News about our relationship with China

VC Sky InterviewOur Vice-Chancellor Sir Keith Burnett speaks to Sky News about our relationship with China and the state visit of President Xi Jinping. Click to watch.

What the UK can learn from the Chinese approach to infrastructure

In an interview for Bloomberg (22 October 2015), our Vice-Chancellor discusses opportunities to boost industry and infrastructure through our partnerships with China.


UK Confucius Institute and Confucius Classroom Conference, 22-23 October 2015

Our Vice-Chancellor Sir Keith Burnett and our Director at the Confucius Institute attended the London CI/CC Conference and met President Xi Jinping. Click to watch (in Chinese).

Acrobatics, melody and mime — a trip to the Chinese opera

Chinese OperaA vibrant evening of traditional Chinese song and dance, co-organized by SCI and the Sheffield Chinese Students & Scholars Association, was held in our Students' Union auditorium to mark Global Confucius Institute day on 26 September.

Performers from Shanghai Theatre Academy showcased a selection of dramatic art drawn from the Beijing and Kun Qu or "Kun" operas, accompanied by traditional Chinese folk music. Click to read more.

What next for China: Great Wall or Bridging the Gap?

VCAs Professor Sir Keith Burnett, Vice-Chancellor, University of Sheffield, prepares to meet President Xi, the University’s Vice-Chancellor reflects on what China’s questions about its future mean for the political economy of the West. Click to read more.

Xi's UK visit will build bridges for future generations to cross

By Professor Sir Keith Burnett For China Daily

Britain's universities are eagerly waiting for the state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Leaders of industry and higher education think China and the United Kingdom must continue to expand their international focus. Click to read more.

Should the UK's partnership with China be welcomed or feared?

Looking East to China to regenerate the North

Our Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Keith Burnett, joins a senior UK government delegation to China (Read More).

"The Chinese see something in us, and we could not dream for better luck than to make 1.4 billion new friends", VC wrote to Telegraph. Click to read more.

Sir Keith Burnett pleased and surprised that the Chancellor of the Exchequer chose ‘the Northern Powerhouse’ as one of his big themes for the visit to China, Click to read more.

Wanted: World's Best Companies

VCChina must reach out with an inclusive mindset to reap the rewards of working with first-rate firms.

The next phase of China's economic growth is expected to be driven by advanced manufacturing, but the industries involved often require a significant degree of internationalization to achieve competitiveness, says Keith Burnett, vice-chancellor at the University of Sheffield in England. Such internationalization means China needs to incorporate companies comprising the world's best supply chain into each of its advanced manufacturing sectors. Such a process demands that China internationalize with a cooperative and inclusive mindset, says Burnett. Click to Read More.

The Hand of Friendship


A senior advisor to China on cultural understanding, the Vice-Chancellor of The University of Sheffield is today attending a global round table of the Confucius Institute in China. The high profile event is being held in Xufu, birthplace of Confucius, known throughout the world for his teaching on the harmonious society and good relations between peoples. Click to Read More.

Picture (Left): Offering the hand of friendship - Professor Sir Keith Burnett meets Professor Chen Yulu, President of Renmin University of China, Vice-President of the All China Youth Federation and a member of the Monetary Policy Committee of the People's Bank of China.

Honorary Degree for President of Nanjing Technical University

Nanjing Technical UniversityThe president of Nanjing Technical University, Professor Wei Huang (in the middle), was made an Honorary Graduate during the Graduation week in July 2015. Professor Sir Keith Burnett hosted the delegation from the University, together with colleagues at UoS.

Chinese students: priority number one

Sir Keith Burnett: Forging a common future of co-operation between Sheffield and China

A powerful connection for Britain - Confucius Institute participates in city-centre vibrancy

Sir Keith Burnett, vice-chancellor of the University of Sheffield, has written an article about Op Ed on China relating to international students, which was published by The Times Higher Education on 2nd April 2015. Click to read more.

The second article, written by Sir Keith Burnett and published by Yorkshire Post on 13th April, stated the University is not only for the future of UK higher education but also for forging future co-operations with China.

The Nuclear AMRC (Advanced Manufacturing Research Center), led by the University of Sheffield and the University of Manchester, is to work with Chinese partners to develop even better technology going forward, says Sir Keith Burnett. Click to read more.

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