CHINA-UK: New campus for Nottingham in Shanghai

Nottingham University has been invited by the Shanghai city government to set up a new British-Chinese university that will be able to attract top students and faculty, the British university has announced.

The move is seen as part of the Chinese government's push to draw more overseas academic talent, including overseas Chinese, to the country. China also hopes to attract some 10,000 more foreign students.

Elite researchers and faculty will be easier to entice to Shanghai than to other cities, such as Zhejiang, where Nottingham's successful Ningbo University campus is situated, some 220 kilometres from Shanghai. The Ningbo campus is often seen as somewhat separate from the city.

The Shanghai project, which will particularly build on Nottingham's expertise in teaching the sciences, is also part of China's strategic plan to move ahead in research, particularly in the life sciences and engineering.

China's target is to spend 2.5% of gross domestic product on research and development by 2020.

Discussions on the Shanghai campus are at an advanced stage with a possible location identified in the southern part of Shanghai and funding offered by the Chinese authorities for construction. However, the new campus is still subject to approval by the Nottingham University senate and council, and the relevant authorities in China.

Provost and CEO of the University of Nottingham Ningbo, Nick Miles, said the new Shanghai university would build on the strengths of the Ningbo campus. "It will not compete with it in any way.

"In particular, a Shanghai university campus would allow us to develop critical mass in new subject areas with a strong focus on science and technology and would provide an opportunity for further expansion," he said.

The University of Nottingham has some 39,000 students across its international campuses in the UK, Malaysia and China, with 5,000 of them in Ningbo.

The Ningbo campus has three faculties: social sciences, which includes a business school; arts and humanities; and science and engineering. It is projected to rise to a maximum of 8,000 students.

The Ningbo campus will continue to grow, particularly in engineering. However, it does not have the capacity to broaden its subject offering, said Miles. "We are aiming to attract a different set of students who want international qualifications in subjects we do not yet provide," he added, citing the life sciences, in particular biomedical life sciences.