Liverpool University academics will soon be jetting out to a business park 90km west of Shanghai to teach at a new university opened this month in a unique collaboration with a Chinese institution, writes Tony Tysome.
The university is being jointly run and funded by Liverpool and Xi'an Jiaotong University, with course design and teaching shared between the two.
The first courses in electronics and IT, which start in September, will be taught in English. They will have an intake of 250 students and will initially need only about a dozen Liverpool teaching staff.
But the number of Liverpool academics teaching in China is expected to grow significantly. Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) plans to accommodate up to 10,000 students by 2012 and to have a student-to-staff ratio of no more than 20 to 1.
Drummond Bone, Liverpool's vice-chancellor, said that about a third of staff at XJTLU would come from his university, a third from Xi'an Jiaotong and the rest would be recruited from other institutions.
Academics with expertise in business, life sciences, economics, urban planning and teaching English as a foreign language will be needed to run programmes added to the initial electronics and IT courses.
The university's development will be watched carefully by Chinese education officials, who will allow no other foreign campuses to open until they have assessed the impact of the Liverpool initiative and of Nottingham University's campus at Ningbo.