The world's third-largest design engineering firm has awarded a distinguished academic £700,000 to revitalise a university engineering department.
Chun Qing Li will join Greenwich University next year as the first Atkins professor of civil engineering.
The cash, divided over five years, will be spent on developing an innovative engineering curriculum, creating close links with industry and improving research and teaching.
Atkins, the UK's largest engineering consultancy, will provide work placements and graduate jobs as part of its sponsorship.
Professor Li, who is currently a senior lecturer at Dundee University, said: "My ambition is to help the civil engineering department at Greenwich to grow rapidly, training more graduates and providing expertise to more commercial clients - regionally, nationally and internationally."
Baroness Blackstone, the vice-chancellor of Greenwich, said: "Professor Li has an impressive track record that combines strengths in teaching, research and consultancy."
Professor Li, a graduate of Wuhan University of Technology in China, is an expert on coastal defence systems, nuclear plants and bridges.
A cash injection of £18 million was announced last month to reverse a fall in the numbers of UK students in engineering, chemistry, maths and physics.
The money, from the Higher Education Funding Council for England, will be spread among pilot projects that will benefit at least 80,000 under-21-year-olds.
One initiative is the £3 million London Engineering Project, which is run by the Royal Academy of Engineering. It hopes to boost the number of Caribbean, Bangladeshi and Pakistani students in South London who study engineering.