University of Strathclyde: Strathclyde signs Memorandum of Understanding with Peking University

The University of Strathclyde and Peking University (PKU) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

The MoU was signed by PKU’s President, Professor Hao Ping and Strathclyde’s Principal, Professor Sir Jim McDonald – who was also conferred Honorary Professorship status at PKU – during an online ceremony.

The MoU will see the universities, which have many areas of global excellence in common, develop their strategic partnership and explore future collaborations in fields including:

Establishing joint programmes for decarbonisation and low carbon
Management Science
Student exchanges
Campus sustainability
Ambitious aspirations
Sir Jim said: “I am delighted to sign the Memorandum of Understanding with PKU on behalf of the University of Strathclyde. This represents a highly significant milestone in taking forward Strathclyde’s and PKU’s ambitious aspirations and joint academic capabilities in many common areas of work, especially in the fields of decarbonisation and sustainable development. I very much look forward to working with our colleagues at PKU.

I am also delighted to have this Honorary Professorship conferred upon me by PKU. This is indeed a great honour from an outstanding institution with an excellent reputation for education and research.
Professor Sir Jim McDonald
Peking President, Professor Hao Ping, said: “Professor Sir Jim McDonald has supported many collaborations between Strathclyde and Peking University and the UK and China. In particular, the collaborations and exchanges between the College of Engineering, College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering at Peking University and the Faculty of Engineering and Centre for Sustainable Development at the University of Strathclyde.

“Last year saw the establishment of a steering group between our two universities, and the formation of working groups in the areas of decarbonisation and sustainable development cooperation, which further promoted the tripartite exchange and collaboration among Peking University, the University of Strathclyde and the Royal Academy of Engineering.

“I am also delighted and honoured to make Sir Jim an Honorary Professor at Peking University in recognition of his distinguished contribution and outstanding profile in academia and his significant achievements in the field of energy and power. Moreover, Sir Jim McDonald has made significant contributions in promoting collaborations and exchanges in engineering and technology between China and the UK, as well as between Peking University and universities and scientific institutions in the UK.”

Important bridge
Peking and Strathclyde have worked together, since 2020, on a number of initiatives, including Strathclyde’s participation in PKU’s Globex summer programme in July 2021; PKU’s participation in Strathclyde’s Climate Connect event, along with the University of Waterloo, University of Stellenbosch, Malawi University and KTH; and they have two operational working groups established for decarbonisation and low carbon, one led by Professor Campbell Booth and Professor Song Jie, and the other for Sustainable development/Air-Climate-Health, led by Dr Tracy Morse and Dr Wei Wan. PKU also led a seminar in Strathclyde’s Global Webinar Series in 2021.

Peking University, based in Beijing, is China’s first national comprehensive university with a lineage dating back to the Imperial University of Peking, founded in 1898. Peking University has played a vital role as the pioneer in the process of China’s modernisation and has become a cradle for the country to cultivate high-quality and creative talents, a frontier for scientific research and an important base for knowledge innovation, and an important bridge and window for international exchange.

Innovation collaboration
Sir Jim is a Foreign Fellow of the Chinese Society for Electrical Engineering. In January 2020, he was invited by China’s Ministry of Science and Technology and the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, to speak at the Foreign Experts’ Symposium, presided by Premier Li Keqiang in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

The audience comprised senior leaders and ministers of the State Council and the Symposium included over sixty foreign experts, of which only two, including Sir Jim, were invited to speak and present to Premier Li.

His talk has significantly influenced the thinking within the Ministry of Science and Technology, and the Royal Academy of Engineering has since set up a China-UK Forum on Engineering Decarbonisation and a steering group to take the work forward. This is a crucial milestone in the development of a long-term shared agenda for the UK and China for prioritised research and innovation collaboration on net zero and low carbon technologies.

Most recently, Sir Jim has been invited to be an International Economic Adviser to the Province of Shandong, where he has provided advice on the economic and social development of Shandong Province, through innovative new approaches pursuing the collaboration between Shandong Province and Scotland.

He also held an advisory role until 2020 in the Hanban/Confucius Institute Headquarters, the governing body of China’s Confucius Institutes, which are partnerships set up with overseas educational institutions to promote the learning of Chinese language and culture. The Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools sits within Strathclyde, and has 46 Confucius classrooms in Scotland, with around 50,000 youngsters directly benefitting from the programme. He is also one of the few UK members of international advisory board in the Centre for Language Education and Cooperation, affiliated with the Chinese Ministry of Education.

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