October 30, 2018, by Susan Lim

Promoting postgraduate mobility

The University of Nottingham is proud to be a global university with a world-leading reputation for its high academic achievements and scientific research standards. Our ambition at the University of Nottingham Malaysia is to transform teaching and research across ASEAN and South East Asia.

But what does that really mean to staff?

In October’s blog post, I share with you just a few of the exciting schemes that present opportunities for expanding our UNM postgraduate numbers and postgraduate experience.

Joint doctoral programmes represent an important and innovative opportunity for transnational knowledge exchange. Those supervisory teams comprising academic staff based in different countries create a unique environment that brings together different scientific perspectives, promotes greater cultural awareness and nurtures long-standing relationships. International collaborations and joint publications not only raise the personal profile of individual academics but also the reputation of the University. These benefits are mutual. Such arrangements can share the cost of the PhD scholarship, bringing financial advantages too.

During October 2018, academic staff from across the University of Nottingham Malaysia participated in a range of high profile doctoral exchange activities.

First, Profs Andy Chan and Chung Lim Law and Assoc Prof Lim Chin Seong (Faculty of Engineering) accompanied me to Dongguan in Guangdong Province, South China. Dongguan is a city of almost 10 million inhabitants and is strategically located in the Guangzhou-Shenzhen innovation corridor. If you own a smartphone, there’s a good chance it was made here since Dongguan is an international processing and manufacturing base and an important export base for China. Here University of Nottingham Malaysia celebrated the inaugural ceremony of International Joint Graduate School of Dongguan University of Technology (DGUT), with distinguished attendees including Mr Liu Wei (Vice Mayor Dongguan Municipal Government), Mr Zhuo Qing (Deputy Director of Songshan Lake Administrative Committee), Prof Li Lin (President of DGUT and Vice Secretary of Communist Party of China [CPC] Committee of DGUT), and Prof Yang Minlin (Vice President of DGUT [International] and member of CPC Committee of DGUT).

The purpose of the international joint programme is to enhance transnational scientific relationships and to contribute to the growing talented workforce in China’s Songshan Lake (‘silicon valley’) region. Currently, 5 PhD students are fully registered in the programme; all from UNM. They will spend their first and final years at UNM, and the middle portion at DGUT. When they complete their research training they will be awarded a single PhD certificate from the University of Nottingham. There are opportunities to expand the programme beyond engineering, for example into biosciences. For further details please contact Prof Andy Chan (Andy.Chan@nottingham.edu.my) or myself.

Profs Andy Chan and Chung Lim Law and I then continued eastwards across Guangdong province to the city of Shantou. Shantou University and Medical College are one of the major initiatives supported by the Li Ka Shing Foundation. This Foundation is a Hong Kong-based charitable organization founded in 1980 by Hong Kong’s richest man and business entrepreneur Mr Li Ka-shing. Its the second largest private foundation led by a wealthy individual in the world, after Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Support enables the university to make original contributions to the Chinese nation and to human society overall. Here, we were the honoured guests of Profs Hasi Wulan (Vice President Shantou University), Lin Peng (Vice Dean, College of Engineering), Qiang Fang (Head of Biomedical Engineering) and Liyang Lai (Dept of Electrical Engineering). The specific purpose of our visit was to introduce the international joint program with DGUT, but we also explored opportunities for research collaboration with both the Colleges of Engineering and Science and for staff/student exchange.

Finally, UNM’s School of Biosciences hosted around 20 staff and students from the Joint Doctoral Training Partnership with the University of Adelaide. This innovative programme provides fully funded 4-year PhD studentships with all projects co-supervised by staff at the two universities and with doctoral students spending at least one year at each institution. The highlight of the visit to UNM was a symposium where each student presented an update on their PhD work.

Currently, 16 PhD students are fully registered in both universities, and when they complete their research training they will be awarded a single jointly-awarded PhD certificate. We expect to expand this to a total cohort of 40-50 PhD students by 2021.

For further details please contact the scheme director in the UK, Prof Ian Fisk (ian.fisk@nottingham.ac.uk).

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