During a 2004 visit to UL, the former Chinese Premier praised the University’s ethos of linkage and cited it as a model he wanted to encourage as a means of developing economic and social growth.
This framework of links between teaching, research and industry has prompted two decades of collaborations between UL and its Chinese partners.
Explaining the links further, UL Director of China Yi Bao said that “University of Limerick has a long established joint degree (2+2) programs in China in the areas of Science and Engineering and that has become the pipeline of the most demand talents working in the strategic industrial sectors in China.
“These graduates are now working in the multi-national companies and continuing studies at the postgraduate levels.”
With the support of Beijing Sports University, home for China’s most Olympic medalists, Chinese students have the opportunity to spend one year in UL for a dual Masters in sports related subjects.
“Sport is the national priority and an important input to the Chinese dream,” Yi explained.
“Research collaborations are always the focus of the university’s commitment to China and last May, a China Scholarship Council delegation led by the Secretary-General, Mr Sheng Jianxue, visited the campus, in order to continue to support both PhD programs and project-based schemes.
“Further to that, UL will set up its own Chinese research seed fund to enhance the cooperation with top ranked Chinese universities later this year.”
Allied to this is the recent development between UL and Chinese technology giant Huawei of a partnership and a €6million investment in Lero.
Additionally, the UL Innovation Centre is actively working with the Chinese Innovation agency promoting the technology transfer and commercialization of the university patents internationally, Yi explained.
The university’s diversified approach in connection with China spans the academic collaboration to the outreach activities.
Other links that the director highlighted included a training program hosted by the Kemmy Business School for State Administration on market regulation.
Musicians and dancers from the Irish World Academy were invited to perform at the St. Patrick’s Day festivities in Shanghai and will return again this year.
Last September the UL China office was re-located back to the incubator of Enterprise Ireland in Beijing.
Yi said that “this strategic move allows us to work even more closely with the Irish higher education providers and businesses in the near future.”
Twice recognized as Irish University of the Year by the Sunday Times in the last five years, Yi said that this is demonstrated by UL’s commitment “to enrich student experiences.”
“The dedicated International Education Division at UL has given Chinese students various aspects of support during their study year in the university.
“Annual festival celebrations include the Lunar New Year and the Mid-Autumn event, while the buddy program is particularly helpful for new students who are settling in to a completely new environment.
“Chinese students have the reputation of working hard to get the best results.
“Apart from their academic achievement, the university is keen to offer more opportunities to enrich student life and an example of that is Teng Pengpeng, from TESOL program, who has successfully completed his work as a member of the volunteer group in St. Mary’s Cathedral.
“Jingyu Yan, from Beijing Sports University, is an EI student ambassador representing UL, and has travelled in Europe presenting her plan for the year ahead and future career aspirations and how the UL Master’s degree will help employability in either Ireland or back in China.
Yi said that “University of Limerick has set up the clear goals and agenda for further engagement with this important market and UL President, Dr Des Fitzgerald will visit China in May.
“This will open the University for the next chapter of development in the Chinese market,” Yi concludes.
- Andrew Carey