Flinders embarks on largest-ever China mission

Up to 40 delegates from Flinders University will today embark on a group mission to enhance Flinders international research links with two top-tier Chinese universities.

The mission, funded by the Australia-China Science and Research Fund, will enable Flinders to develop new and existing research projects with Hunan University and Central South University (CSU) in Changsha, the capital of Hunan province.

In 2010 Flinders established the Joint Research and Education Collaboration Centre with Hunan and CSU as a platform for intensive collaboration across several key research and training areas, primarily in health, science and engineering.

Flinders University Deputy-Vice Chancellor (Research), Professor David Day (pictured), who will join the week-long mission along with Flinders Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Barber, said the visit would allow Flinders to strengthen its research links through the centre.

“At Hunan University we will be focusing on supercomputing, water and environment, while at CSU we will be considering projects supporting health and medical research, with the possibility of establishing a joint laboratory focusing on clinical research,” Professor Day said.

“We will be holding various seminars, workshops and high-level discussions to decide which projects we can develop further and what other things we can be doing,” he said.

During the visit the universities will explore the feasibility of a student exchange, while Flinders researchers will also help CSU and its associated hospitals develop family medicine and rural and remote health care programs, which are areas of strength for Flinders.

Delegates from Flinders School of Medicine and School of Nursing and Midwifery will also deliver a conference on dementia care education and research to their Chinese counterparts, supported by a separate grant from the Australia-China Council.

Professor Day said the trip presented an ideal opportunity to take Flinders relationship with the two universities – which are part of an elite group of universities recognised by the Chinese Government – “to the next level”.

“As Flinders largest-ever international group mission, this trip will cement the work we started in China in 2010 and will enable us to tap into each other’s funding and resources above what we are currently doing,” Professor Day said.

“The collaboration with Hunan University and CSU is our main research focus in China – it’s not the only one but it’s certainly the major one at this time.”

Flinders research activities in China extend beyond Hunan and Central South to a total of 28 current research collaborations across a range of areas including marine biotechnology, gambling, groundwater, sustainability and the Chinese cinema industry.

Flinders also teaches three postgraduate courses in partnership with Nankai University and one with Capital Normal University in Beijing, and also offers two undergraduate degrees in conjunction with the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

More than 400 students graduated from Flinders Nankai postgraduate courses in 2012, with the first cohort to graduate in 2003 numbering 70. A further 39 students graduated from Flinders inaugural undergraduate courses in Hong Kong in 2012.

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