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China partnership looks to boost enterprise
ACADEMICS and officials from two leading universities in China have signed up to an innovative higher education partnership at a ceremony in the University Centre Milton Keynes.
Delegates from the Zhejiang Gongshang University and the Zhejiang Normal University flew into the UK to agree a collaborative venture between the Chinese universities and three universities in the South East Midlands: the University of Bedfordshire, the University of Northampton, and UCMK.
The universities are each part of the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership, which promotes innovation, employment and business growth.
Milton Keynes Mayor Cllr Alan Richards, the newly-elected Mayor of Milton Keynes, welcomed the visiting delegation before gifts were exchanged and the participants signed the agreement, which includes plans for organising a summer school, staff and student exchanges and joint degree programmes.
UCMK Dean Professor Keith Straughan (pictured) told assembled guests: “This ceremony celebrates our heritage and new-found friendship and also represents a commitment to come together as global citizens to explore how we might collaborate to increase our knowledge base, stimulate enterprise across our national boundaries, and serve together as wise agents for global development.
“Zhejiang in China is an important and dynamic province in the world’s fastest growing economy. We are thrilled to be part of this unique partnership which clearly demonstrates the international significance of Milton Keynes and the South East Midlands.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for our local universities to contribute to the development of the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership as a driver for innovation and enterprise on the national and international stage.”
The delegation went also to visit the Open University and the Technology Park at Cranfield University, as well as attending meetings at Bedfordshire’s Putteridge Bury campus and Northampton’s Portfolio Innovation Centre to discuss potential areas for collaboration.