Queens to open China college


Queen’s University Belfast has become the first in Northern Ireland to establish a college in China, it has been revealed.

Around 1,000 Chinese students will study for degrees in pharmaceutical science at the new campus in the north east of the country.

Madame Liu Yandong, a state councillor and the most senior female politician in the ruling Communist Party in China, visits Queen’s today and will also witness the signing of collaborative agreements with Peking University and the Chinese Scholarship Council.

Queen’s vice chancellor Professor Sir Peter Gregson said: “It is a red letter day for Queen’s University Belfast, for Northern Ireland and for China.”

The college will be established in Shenyang in the north east of China, a city of 14 million people which is an important industrial centre. The pharmaceutical science students will be trained jointly by staff from Queen’s and the China Medical University. Around 250 students a year are expected to enrol in the four-year degrees.

It builds upon the university’s existing links, which include the £2.3 million (€2.7 million) science bridge project which has seen Queen’s technologies being used in the construction of the Chinese Olympic stadium, Hangzhou Bay sea crossing bridge and thermal power generation plants and power systems across China.

Madame Liu will also visit the University of Ulster at Jordanstown today to open the Confucius Institute.

Sir Peter added: “Today’s agreements with Peking University and Chinese Scholarship Council and the announcement of our intention to establish the China Queen’s College are a sign of the powerful relationships that Queen’s University has built with its Chinese partners and a symbol of good fortune for Northern Ireland through its strengthened links with an internationally recognised superpower.

“The creation of a joint college with one of China’s top health science universities is based on a real and vibrant partnership. It will provide many opportunities and deliver real outcomes for society in China, in the UK and in Ireland.”

NI Minister for Employment and Learning Stephen Farry said: “This truly exciting and innovative venture highlights the value of international higher education collaboration and will bring many long-term academic, economic and social benefits to both the institutions and the people they serve.”

The UU ceremony at Jordanstown will feature Chinese, Irish and Scottish traditional and modern music, dance, calligraphy and art.

Professor Pol O Dochartaigh, dean of the faculty of the arts, said the event launching the Confucius Institute at the University of Ulster (CIUU) marked a significant gear shift in the relationship between Northern Ireland and China.

“Northern Ireland has traditionally tended to look at either Boston and Berlin in terms of forging educational, business and cultural links but it is becoming more apparent that it would be foolish to ignore Beijing,” he said.

“China is already the world’s second largest economy and it is swiftly closing the gap on the United States. We need to make sure we are ready for that.

“That is why the establishment of the CIUU is so important. It will not just be an important resource for the University of Ulster, or for education in general, but for the public and private sectors as well as they grapple with how to engage China, build trade links and attract foreign direct investment.”