In 2009, the Royal Society of Chemistry signed a cooperation agreement with the State Administration for Foreign Experts Affairs (SAFEA), a division of the Chinese Government. As part of a wider governmental initiative to enhance the global impact of Chinese science and China’s higher education institutions, the RSC and SAFEA provide funding for a Visiting Researchers Programme. This encourages academics from the UK to visit Chinese universities to share best practice, advise Chinese researchers on presenting their research to an international audience and to stimulate collaboration between UK and Chinese institutions.
This blog provides a space for participants to share their experiences and for the RSC to highlight the opportunities that stem from the SAFEA programme.

*The map is reproduced from the United Nations Statistics Division

Getting to meet the students - September 15th

This morning I had the opportunity to meet with a number of other academics at Nankai University and hear about their research and visit their labs. I was extremely impressed with what I heard and saw, but this is perhaps not surprising as I had previously been told that Nankai is consistently ranked in the top two for chemistry research in China, and is also one of largest Chemistry Departments in China.  I was also able to talk to some of the students and find out a bit more about life as a student in China. Although many aspects of student life would be familiar to students in the UK, there are also some significant differences. For example in China, both undergraduate and masters students are expected to live on campus for the full duration of the course and usually in shared dormitory rooms of up to 8 students. I know that some of my students in the UK have difficulty being in the same room together, so dread to think how they would cope with such an arrangement, but perhaps it would do them some good!

After lunch (and siesta!) I was taken by the same two students as yesterday, Lifu Wang and Li Xue, to see some more attractions in the city. These attractions included a new and large museum containing historical artefacts and treasures, and also a traditional shopping street with many local arts and crafts shops selling items such as painted scrolls, Chinese opera masks, jade carvings and painted snuff bottles. The students very kindly commissioned one of the local artists to write my name on a scroll with the individual letters fashioned from pictures of a dragon, a phoenix and a goldfish (all apparently good luck in China). I think it will look great on my office wall when I return. As is becoming the norm, in the evening I was treated to the best in Chinese hospitality involving plenty of good food, drink and conversation.

Posted by Rob Davies on Oct 26, 2010 9:28 AM Europe/London

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