China tie-up for Glasgow Caledonian

Venture would be a first both for Scotland and a teaching-led institutition. Melanie Newman reports

January 24, 2008

Glasgow Caledonian University plans to set up a campus in China, Times Higher Education has learnt.

It is understood that the campus will follow the business model established by the University of Liverpool. Under this, a Chinese partner pays the capital costs and owns the infrastructure, and the UK institution teaches and awards the degrees.

If the plan goes ahead, the campus would be the first to be set up in China by a UK teaching-led university and the first major Scottish-Chinese joint venture.

Pamela Gillies, principal and vice-chancellor of Glasgow Caledonian, said: "We are absolutely committed to international development as we believe that the globalisation of education is important in giving all our graduates the skills necessary to succeed in a global marketplace."

The university already has an international track record, having launched the Caledonian College of Engineering in Oman in 1996.

"International collaboration is important to us, and, based on our success in Oman, we are building strong and valued relationships in a number of key countries including China, where we hope to participate in more joint ventures in the future," Professor Gillies said.

"While presently we don't have agreements in place, we are committed to building on our experience in Oman and developing further successful international partnerships when the time is right."

The news from Glasgow emerged as the Prime Minister embarked on a five-day tour of China and India.

Gordon Brown was accompanied on the trip by five UK vice-chancellors, all from research-led institutions: University College London and the universities of Liverpool, Oxford, King's College London and Nottingham. Both Liverpool and Nottingham have established campuses in China.

Speaking to Times Higher Education before departing for China, Drummond Bone, the vice-chancellor of Liverpool, which set up a campus with Xi'an Jiaotong University in 2005, said the presence of five university heads on the trip was evidence of the Government's respect for UK education's position in the global marketplace.

Speaking to the press after a meeting with Wen Jiabao, the Chinese Premier, in Beijing last week, Mr Brown called for a large rise in the number of partnerships between UK and Chinese universities.

"I believe by 2010 we will see 100 new Chinese companies investing in the UK, we will see 100 partnerships between our universities and Chinese universities and we will double the number of firms listed on the London Stock Exchange and thousands of jobs will be created," the Prime Minister said.

He committed the UK to a major expansion of trade with China, to the value of £30 billion by 2010 - a 50 per cent increase on last year.

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