New Postgraduate Research Exchange in Engineering strengthens China links

Swansea University’s College of Engineering has established a new Postgraduate Research Exchange in Engineering programme with one of the world’s top universities – Tsinghua University in Beijing, China.

Tsinghua UniversityThe new five-year programme, which began this month, will see up to six postgraduate PhD students exchanged each year initially, for a period of between six to 12 months, in the research areas of aerospace, energy, and computer science.

With more than 25,900 undergraduate and postgraduate students, Tsinghua University is widely regarded as China’s top university and it consistently ranks internationally as among the top 50 in the world. The University was established in 1911, and its campus is situated on the former imperial gardens of the Qing Dynasty and surrounded by a number of historical sites in north-west Beijing.

This new exchange programme strengthens the links Swansea already has with Tsinghua through previous joint research projects funded by the Royal Society, the Royal Academy of Engineering, The National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) China, the Chinese Scholarship Council, and the Ministry of Education of China.

Through these previous collaborations, a series of bilateral research visits have taken place, involving more than 20 academics from Swansea and Tsinghua.

The new programme is also driven by the ongoing research collaborations between research teams from the two institutions – significantly, the Sino-UK PhD Research Exchange Program, which is funded by the British Council and the Chinese Scholarship Council.

The first Tsinghua-Swansea Joint Workshop of Computational Mechanics was held in Tsinghua in July 2011, and the second Swansea-Tsinghua workshop will be held in Swansea this July. 

Swansea University also expects to welcome its first PhD student from Tsinghua in July.

Professor Javier Bonet, Head of Swansea University’s College of Engineering, said: “We are delighted to further enhance our collaboration with one of the world’s leading institutions.

“We have already had a fruitful exchange of research ideas during our first joint workshop held in July 2011 at Tsinghua University and we are looking forward to hosting the second workshop at Swansea. Both our doctoral students and staff will benefit from this research interaction.”

Professor Zhuo Zhuang, Head of Tsinghua University's School of Aerospace, said: "Swansea University has a long-established international reputation in Computational Mechanics and Computational Engineering that can be traced back to Professor Olek Zienkiewicz, who pioneered the development of finite element methods.

“Computational science and engineering now constitutes what many call the third pillar of scientific inquiry, and we are delighted to have developed a strong collaboration with Swansea, a world leader in computational engineering."   

Dr Chenfeng Li, the programme’s coordinator at Swansea University’s College of Engineering, said: “Tsinghua University is undoubtedly China’s leading university, with great strength in the areas of engineering and technology, and Swansea University is a world leader in computational mechanics and computational engineering.

“This strategic partnership brings together the complementary strengths of each institution, which not only allows high-quality research to be conducted more efficiently, but also opens up new opportunities for international collaboration.”