Chinese scholarship programme will boost Northern Powerhouse

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An expanded scholarship programme for Chinese scholars to attend Northern universities will offer a boost to the Northern Powerhouse’s international research ambitions.

That’s the view of the N8 Research Partnership, the collaboration body of eight research intensive universities in the North of England which aims to maximise the impact of their collective research capabilities.

Chancellor George Osborne announced that the Chevening Scholarship programme is to be extended, focusing on Chinese students wishing to engage with the N8 universities.

The announcement will see Chinese students attending N8 universities (Durham, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield, and York) from 2017/2018. The scheme will also be open to applications from other institutions in the north of England. It was made as a part of a range of initiatives announced by the Chancellor during a trip to China with Northern city leaders.

Collectively, the N8 universities undertake more than £650m of research income each year and employ more than 18,000 academic staff, forming the largest research-pooling partnership in the UK.

N8 works closely with industry to ensure businesses have an effective and single entry point to access world-class research from these leading universities.

N8 Director Dr Peter Simpson said: “The programme will offer significant opportunities for expanding international collaboration between the North of England and China. This can particularly impact on research areas which have global prominence, such as urban transformation and agri-food resilience, where N8 are already engaged in building on programmes of international importance.

“The Chevening Scholarship will assist us in developing joint research opportunities with Chinese scholars and institutions, bringing benefits to the entire North of England and beyond.”

Professor Sir Alan Langlands, Chair of the N8 Board of Directors and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds, added: “The announcement of the scholarship programme is excellent recognition of the existing strong, and growing partnerships between N8 institutions and Chinese universities. We look forward to building and strengthening these partnerships.

“The Government’s decision to establish this programme will enable us to build even stronger links between N8 areas of research strength and Chinese researchers and students.”

Communities Secretary Greg Clark said: “With over half a million businesses and seven of the world’s top 200 universities, the Northern Powerhouse has the potential to be a significant driving force of the whole UK economy.”