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Joint Lab agreement with South China Normal University

The University of Twente and prestigious South China Normal University (SCNU) in Kanton (Guangzhou), China signed a ‘Joint Lab’ agreement today. The agreement offers opportunities to obtain funding from the provincial Chinese government and businesses in the area of the Chinese metropolis of Kanton. It is an important step in the collaboration between the University of Twente and SCNU which was initiated several years ago.

UT and SCNU will exchange knowledge, new and existing technologies and students and plan to set up a double degree for doctoral candidates. The University of Twente plans to contribute to a pre-Master’s programme in Nanotechnology and Chemistry at SCNU, after which students can be admitted to a Master’s in Nanotechnology at the University of Twente. SCNU believes that this pre-Master’s will produce a steady stream of students that meet University of Twente’s admission requirements.

‘Getting down to business’

 “China offers University of Twente students and scientists interesting prospects in terms of research collaboration, Master’s programmes, double degrees and student and scientist exchange programmes”, explains University of Twente professor Jan Eijkel. “We were already aware of these prospects, but this university is now ready to do business. We have moved far beyond the stage of merely listening politely to what the other party has to say.”

Professors Eijkel and Van den Berg were jointly responsible for drawing up the Joint Laboratory Optofluidic Technology and Systems agreement. Albert van den Berg has been an honorary professor at SCNU since 2012 and Jan Eijkel recently joined the ranks. Their BIOS Lab-on-a-chip department has hired a number of SCNU doctoral candidates.  

Lots of determination

Kanton is located in the Chinese province of Guangdong. Both Guangdong's capital city Kanton and the fast-growing city of Shenzhen are two of China’s largest cities. “Guangdong can be compared to the Netherlands”, comments professor Van den Berg, who knows the area well. “The area is taking steps to move from a production economy to a self-generating knowledge economy. They asked the University of Twente and the Dutch state to offer assistance. As part of this collaboration, we will be setting up a project in the area of chemical technology with a contribution from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). Both sides are determined to make this collaboration work, which is a wonderful development.”

International ambitions

University of Twente’s Executive Board President Victor van der Chijs signed the agreement in China. “The collaboration agreement’s content dovetails perfectly with University of Twente’s internationalization ambitions. By establishing a joint lab with SCNU, the University of Twente will gain access to specific research facilities and new sources of funding in China. The SCNU pre-Master’s programme can increase the influx of students in a number of University of Twente Master’s programmes for an extended period of time. This also makes us very happy.”