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

Tianjin Normal University – Day 7 – September 18th

My last day in Tianjin. I was picked up by my host for the day Prof Xiaojun Zhao and we travelled to Tianjin Normal University, home to approximately thirty thousand students. I was first given a tour of the University by car, necessitated by the sheer size of the campus. I then gave my lecture in the Chemistry Department to a large turnout – I did feel a bit conscious of the fact that everyone there had given up their Saturday morning to come and see me talk, but apparently the weekends tend to be a lot less sacrosanct in China than the West.
The Chemistry building in Tianjin Normal University is only a couple of years old and after my talk I was keen to see around it. The building itself was very large, and I tried hard not to look jealous as I was shown the new staff offices which were 6 or 8 times the size of my office in London, and also a basement corridor full of brand new equipment including several X-ray diffractometers,  a SQUID magnetometer and an AFM machine. It was good to see that China is willing to invest so much money into the future of its Universities, and it reminded me of the old Chinese saying that if you plant a tree in your youth it will provide you with shade in your old-age. In a time of large funding cuts in the UK, it is a shame that the UK Government cannot be persuaded to see the benefits of a similar longer-term approach.
After a sumptuous and pleasurable lunch in a famous local fish restaurant with Professor Zhao and several other members of the faculty, I set off in the company of Drs Zhong-Yi Liu and En-Chan Wang to visit the Shi-family mansion. This is a large house dating to the 19th century which was owned by one of the richest people in the city, and provided an interesting perspective on life in the city at the time as well many insights into Chinese culture and heritage. The day ended with another large and fine dinner, this time at a Chinese Muslim restaurant. I am now back in my accommodation and reluctantly packing for my early departure tomorrow to Beijing where I will spend one day before returning to London.

Posted by Rob Davies on Oct 26, 2010 9:27 AM Europe/London

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