Vice-Chancellor builds bridges between Sheffield and China

• University of Sheffield President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Keith Burnett visits to Beijing and Xi'an as part of the University's efforts to cement academic and industrial partnerships in China
• Chinese Vice-Premier announces Sir Keith has been invited to join the Global Council of Confucius Institutes - a personal honour in recognition of his work to strengthen the relationship between the UK and China
• Sir Keith will make a number of visits with the Chinese Ministry for Industries to industry-academic research partnerships focused on electric cars, aerospace and additive manufacturing

The week-long visit began in Xi’an with Sir Keith addressing the global conference of the Confucius Institutes, including a private speech to the Chinese Vice-Premier and Minister for Education on the future of international collaboration with China. The Chinese Vice-Premier announced Sir Keith has been invited to join the Global Council of Confucius Institutes - a personal honour in recognition of his work to strengthen the relationship between the UK and China.

The University of Sheffield’s award-winning Confucius Institute focuses on advanced manufacturing and health as well as Chinese language teaching - an approach which has won support in the UK and China.

Following the conference, Sir Keith - who is Chair of Science and Innovation for the Sheffield City Region and also a Chinese speaker - will return to Beijing where he will make a number of visits with the Chinese Ministry for Industries to industry-academic research partnerships focused on electric cars, aerospace and additive manufacturing.

At the end of the trip, Sir Keith has been asked to join a forum for China’s top 100 businesses, including the directors of its leading digital companies. Sir Keith will also meet the President of Beihang University and holding a number of meetings with senior academic colleagues with the aim of developing research partnerships and student and staff exchange, as well looking into new forms of technical education with industry such as apprentices and augmented learning.

Sir Keith said: “It is exciting to see the University of Sheffield’s partnerships in China grow in ways which not only strengthen our research and teaching, but which we know will bring health and economic benefits to citizens in both communities. In recent years, the University of Sheffield has developed partnerships with China’s top universities and these are now flourishing at a time when Chinese research has never been stronger. Work in areas like advanced manufacturing, semiconductor technologies and science creates a platform for partnership with one of the world’s great developing economies, home to 1.4 billion people.

“I am amazed at the rapid changes I see, and not just the high-speed trains which link these cities. China has lifted more than half a billion people out of poverty. A generation ago, nine out of 10 Chinese people lived on less than $2 a day. Now less than three in 100 do so. In 1949 life expectancy was 36, now it has more than doubled to 76. In 1949, eight out of 10 people could not read or write. Now 95 per cent can."

He added: “What is particularly inspiring is that our Chinese partners want to learn from our experiences as a research intensive university in a region which has itself faced real challenges and looked to innovation to renew its industries. Many of the problems we face on sustainable transport technologies and healthcare for an ageing population are very familiar in China. If we work together to address these issues, making products to sell to the world, that would be a huge opportunity for our university and city.”

Sir Keith first visited China in 2005 when he was Head of the Division of Mathematics and Physical Sciences at the University of Oxford, but has since developed a deep interest in this rapidly changing nation. In 2016 he was awarded individual honours from China for his contribution to the understanding of Chinese language and culture.

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谢大校长在谢菲尔德和中国之间架起融通之桥

• 谢菲尔德大学校长 凯思•博内特爵士访问北京和西安,巩固谢大与中国在学术和工业领域的伙伴关系。
• 中国副总理刘延东宣布邀请凯思爵士加入孔子学院总部理事会,以表彰其对加强英中关系所做出的杰出工作。
• 凯思爵士将随中国工信部访问多个在电动汽车、航空航天和3D打印等领域内与谢大建立产学研联系的中方合作伙伴。

此次为期一周的访问由西安开始。凯思爵士在西安举行的全球孔子学院大会上发表了多个演讲,包括其单独向刘延东副总理和教育部长陈宝生发表的关于未来与中国国际合作的演说。刘延东副总理宣布邀请凯思爵士加入孔子学院总部理事会,以表彰其对加强英中关系所做出的杰出工作。

谢菲尔德大学孔子学院是全球“示范孔子学院”,不但致力于汉语教学,更致力于在先进制造和医疗健康领域搭建中英合作的桥梁——这一发展路径得到了中英两方的大力支持。

凯思爵士是谢菲尔德地区科学与创新主席,同时也能较熟练地运用中文。在孔院大会结束后,他将返回北京随中国工信部访问多个在电动汽车、航空航天和3D打印等领域内与谢大建立产学研联系的中方合作伙伴。

此次中国之行,凯思爵士将应邀出席有众多中国互联网企业大佬参加的中国信息化百人会。此外,凯思爵士还将会见北京航空航天大学校长,并与校领导举行多场会议,旨在开展合作研究和校际交流,以及与业界一起探索新的技术教育形式,如学徒学习和增强学习。

凯思爵士说:“我无比激动地目睹了谢大与中国不断发展的伙伴关系不仅增进了双方的研究和教学,而且我们已经确信,双方的合作能够为两国人民带来财富与健康。近年来,谢菲尔德大学与众多中国一流大学建立了合作关系,在中国的科研力量达到史无前例高度的今天,我们的合作关系正在蓬勃发展。我校在先进制造业、半导体科技等领域的优势为与中国——这个拥有14亿人口的世界最大发展中国家的合作创造了平台。”

“我惊讶于中国社会的飞速变化,中国不仅仅建起了连接城市的高速铁路,更重要的是中国让五亿多人摆脱了贫困。一代人以前,十个中国人中有九个人每天的生活费不到两美元,而如今这种生活水平的人口只有不到百分之三。1949年,中国人的预期寿命只有36岁,现在已经了76岁,翻了一番多。1949年,中国的文盲人口占到了80%,现在已有95%的人口能够读写。”

他补充说:“特别鼓舞人心的是,我们的中方合作伙伴想要学习我们的成功经验,学习我们作为一个研究型大学如何应对地区挑战、谋求产业创新的经验。我们所面临的人口老龄化、可持续交通技术和医疗保健等许多问题在中国同样存在。如果我们能共同解决这些问题,开发产品销往世界,对谢菲尔德大学和谢菲尔德市来说将是一个巨大的机会。”

时任牛津大学数学和物理科学学部主任的凯思爵士于2005年首次访问中国,此后便对这个迅速变化的国家产生了浓厚的兴趣。2016年,凯思爵士因对中国语言和文化传播事业的贡献而获颁“先进个人奖”。