Nottingham has been invited by the Shanghai regional government to become a potential partner in a campus in the south of the city.
It would be Nottingham’s third overseas branch campus, following on from offshoots in the Chinese city Ningbo, about 50 miles from Shanghai, and in Malaysia.
The plans were expected to be revealed by Michael Gove, the UK education secretary, in a speech scheduled for today.
The Prime Minister, David Cameron, is leading the UK’s largest ever delegation to China, aimed at furthering trade links.
Mr Gove was expected to talk about the UK government’s delight at hearing of the Chinese invitation to Nottingham, and to describe this as a testament to Nottingham’s successes in Ningbo as well as a boost to China-UK educational ties.
Christine Ennew, Nottingham’s pro vice-chancellor for internationalisation and science, said: “The invitation that the university has received from the government of Shanghai aligns well with our desire to grow in-country provision of taught programmes and expand our research activity in China. If this initiative progresses it will further enhance our strategic commitment to long-term collaboration with the Chinese higher education sector.”
A Nottingham spokesman said the campus was not yet a “done deal”, and that more discussions would take place with China’s national government, as well as in Nottingham’s council and senate.
He added that the plan would be to host between 5,000 and 6,000 students at the Shanghai campus, which would have a strong focus on science and technology.
The spokesman said the Shanghai campus would “complement” the Ningbo campus, which has a target of recruiting 8,000 students.
Nottingham has undertaken a feasibility study on the project, which it described as “very positive”.
Will Archer, acting director of the Observatory on Borderless Higher Education, said the proposed venture was recognition of the success of Nottingham Ningbo but also evidence of China’s commitment to strategic partnerships with “world-leading” universities.
Speaking from Nottingham's International Leadership Conference in Shanghai, he said: “A beacon for borderless education, Nottingham's Ningbo campus didn't exist six years ago. Now it a success story for the UK and China, and already those partners are preparing to take up the next challenge.”