China: Guangdong Partners With Lancaster University – March 2014
British Consulate General Guangzhou
Lancaster University signs a five year MOU with the Guangdong Government. The agreement aims to increase the number of UK and Chinese technology partnerships and to boost business links between UK companies and Guangdong – China’s largest provincial economy.
The MOU, signed earlier this week, grew out of a Commercial Diplomacy Fund project developed by the Consulate in 2012. The project established a platform between Lancaster University and partners in Guangdong to develop innovative solutions for environmental and human health protection. At the same time, the project showcased UK expertise with Arup and British Water working alongside SMEs.
The project led to the launch of two collaborative research programmes – the International Research and Innovation Centre for the Environment (IRICE) and the Lancaster China Catalyst Programme. Both programmes aim to boost UK/China SME partnerships through joint research, development and commercialisation of products and services. Participating companies can access the skills of Lancaster University post-graduates working in both China and the UK in a range of disciplines including science, engineering and design.
The signing of the MOU received extensive coverage across both national and provincial media. Lancaster University hope that over the next 5 years the MOU will provide assistance to 400 enterprises across the UK, boost the UK economy by up to £ 40 million and create 240 jobs. At the launch event, I spoke about the UK’s world class science and innovation and the Prime Minister’s announcement during his visit to China of the new £200m UKChina Newton partnership fund.
The Consulate has been heavily involved in securing access to decision makers and potential partners. We also ensured that Lancaster University had access to the Governor of Guangdong during his visit to the UK last autumn.
The signing of the MOU represents significant progress – especially given that the original project had a budget of less than £40K. While much work still remains if we are to ensure the agreement achieves its full potential, it is a clear sign that our investments, both financially and in developing relationships, are paying off.
Under the Newton Fund we hope to support many more projects like this one, bringing together UK and Chinese universities, researchers and businesses to develop products and services towards commercialisation. This particular example demonstrates the potential impact of the innovation strand and how it complements the research and people exchange elements of the Fund and Research Councils UK’s (RCUK)work.
The progress made by Lancaster University illustrates how our small Science and Innovation team, working with others across the Consulate, is contributing towards our prosperity goals in South China and can play a key role in the Newton Fund.
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