The University of Sydney has launched its new Centre in China – our first major facility outside of Australia.
Building on the University's world-class scholarship and research across a broad range of disciplines – from medicine, science and applied sciences, to the humanities and social sciences – and our significant and long-standing academic partnerships in China over the last six decades, the new Centre in China will realise our vision for sustainable, mutually beneficial cooperation across all levels of higher education and research engagement.
University of Sydney Chancellor Belinda Hutchinson AM said the centre will provide the foundation for direct connection and collaboration with government, local industry counterpart universities and alumni.
"The University is delighted to have established its first major facility outside of Australia in Suzhou, an historic and beautiful city which is also a major trade and economic hub," she said.
"This is a concrete demonstration of our commitment to lead the way in intellectual engagement with China and in the Asia-Pacific region."
University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor and Principal Dr Michael Spence said the launch of the centre was an important milestone in the further development of the university’s close relationship with China.
"The University of Sydney has been Australia's leading university with regard to engagement with China over the past few decades – we were the first Australian university to have research links with China, and we were also the first university to welcome Chinese students and academics in 1979," he said.
"Today we have around 12,000 Chinese students studying at our campuses in Sydney, and more than 200 academic staff studying China directly or collaborating with Chinese researchers. However, despite the closeness of our relationship, the University of Sydney has never had a physical address in China – until now.
"The launch of this new centre demonstrates that the University of Sydney is leading the way in ensuring that the relationship between our two great countries is one of friendly collaboration defined by the exchange of ideas."
Based in the Suzhou Industrial Park Dushu Science, Education and Innovation District, the centre is a multifunction research and education hub. It is designed to facilitate and strengthen intellectual and creative exchange between Australian and Chinese researchers, academics and students.
The University has appointed former diplomat Cathryn Hlavka as the Executive Director of the Centre in China. Ms Hlavka has been actively involved with the development of Australian Studies in China, and in promoting the study of China and Chinese language and culture in Australia since the late 1980s.
Under the guidance of Ms Hlavka, the Centre in China will:
The new Centre will work closely with the China Studies Centre at the University's Camperdown Campus.
As part of the Centre in China launch ceremony on November 11, University of Sydney representatives signed four memorandums of understanding to strengthen partnerships and explore future opportunities in China:
Dr Spence said these agreements reflected the University's close ties with China.
"These MOUs highlight our commitment to long-term relationships here in China," he said."We are proud to have partners of this calibre and look forward to exploring our shared opportunities further."
The launch event was attended by a delegation including University staff and guests, recent graduates, alumni, members of the University's famous 'Gang of Nine', and partners from government, research institutes, businesses across China.
Also in attendance were representatives from Fudan University, Zhejiang University, Nanjing University, Peking University, Tsinghua University, Renmin University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Xian Jiao Tong University, China Pharmaceutical University, Nanjing Agriculture University, Chinese Academies of Agricultural Sciences, Social Science and Science, Soochow University, The University of Hong Kong, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and National Taiwan University.
The University of Sydney and China have enjoyed a special relationship over the past few decades.
We were the first Australian university to have research links with China – dating back to the early 1960s when our then Chair of electrical engineering Professor Wilbur Christiansen went to China to assist a radio astronomy group who wanted to build a solar array. We were also the first university to welcome Chinese students and academics in 1979.
Today we have more than 12,000 Chinese students on campus, and around 40,000 alumni living in China. We also have more than 200 academic staff studying China directly or collaborating with Chinese researchers.