The first phase of a significant new partnership between China’s leading institute for built environment research and the University of Salford has been announced with the launch of a new Joint Doctorate programme in the Built Environment.
The new collaboration with China Academy of Building Research (CABR) has been facilitated by Manchester China Forum, a business-led initiative aimed at increasing Greater Manchester’s commercial connectivity with China.
The partnership, which was officially signed at a special event held at the University’s THINKLab last month, will see the University build upon its existing and highly-regarded research capabilities in the fields of smart cities & building information modelling, big data & e-health, inclusive housing design, and low carbon retrofit.
The Doctorate is to be promoted across China and will be available to postgraduates of building-related and engineering disciplines. In addition to the joint supervision of PhD students the programme will also incorporate a research staff exchange and a series of research collaborations.
Those studying for the PhD qualification will spend half of the course (1.5 years) in Beijing and half in Salford, working with CABR representatives. The programme is expected to deliver initially 20 PhD awards per year.
The Doctorate has launched as the first phase of a wider programme of work between the two institutions which seeks to boost existing expertise and skills within the University and thus on behalf of the Manchester city-region.
Rhys Whalley, executive director of Manchester China Forum, said: “Following the recent launch of Manchester’s investment portfolio in Beijing, this is another significant milestone in our continued engagement with China.
“The partnership has particular relevance to on-going dialogue and collaboration between Manchester and China in the fields of smart cities and urban regeneration; bringing unprecedented access to data and knowledge from one of the world’s leading academies in construction and engineering.”
“CABR is China’s top research institute for the built environment and it sets out all of China’s codes of practice, building regulations and material testing requirements. We’re therefore extremely excited about how this project will develop as we believe it will help to unlock further opportunities for collaboration and development.”
Steve Turner who leads Manchester City Council’s smart city activity, said: “Manchester is rapidly positioning itself in the vanguard of UK-China smart city work. This new initiative will add to the pioneering, Foreign Office funded work that we are doing with Greater Manchester’s SMEs through Digital China, alongside our leading role in the EU China Smart Cities Forum.”
Professor Martin Hall, vice chancellor at University of Salford, said: “This is a very important relationship with such a prestigious Chinese Academy and the School of the Built Environment and the School of Computing, Science and Engineering which are our flagship research centres.”
“This partnership will complement the £800m Manchester Airport City project where Beijing Construction and Engineering Group is now a primary contractor. It is also an exciting opportunity for the University of Salford to develop further partnerships as over 50% of world construction is currently in China.”