Ties between the Midlands and China received a further boost on Thursday with the signing of a new agreement to promote science and technology co-operation between the Midlands Engine and the Province of Zhejiang.
Hosted by Nottinghamshire County Council, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed on behalf of the Midlands Engine by Sir John Peace, Chairman of the Midlands Engine, and Mr. Gao Yingzhong, on behalf of Zhejiang’s Science and Technology Department. The MoU paves the way for the Midlands Engine and Zhejiang to encourage co-operation among businesses and research organisations across a wide range of areas, including Green Energy, Manufacturing, Digital and Creative Services, and Life and Health Science Technology.
The Midlands has long-standing partnerships with Zhejiang, where the China campus of University of Nottingham is located, the first of its kind in China. Deepening its footprint in Zhejiang, the university has ongoing research and knowledge exchange partnerships with Zhejiang. Led by Prof Gavin Walker, the Energy Technology and Research Institute has recently developed an innovation partnership with the largest energy company in the province, Zhejiang Energy Group, to strengthen research and development and upskill talent in renewable energy. The Nottingham-China Health Institute has also delivered a number of training programmes for healthcare professionals in hospitals across Zhejiang.
Signing the MoU with Zhejiang is the latest in a series of initiatives undertaken by the Midlands Engine to strengthen links with China for the benefit of communities in the Midlands and the UK economy. The Midlands Engine has previously entered into a strategic partnership with one of the largest provinces in China, Hunan, to open new pathways for investment into the Midlands. Midlands Engine was also awarded the right to host the UK/China Regional Leaders Summit, which is due to take place in Birmingham in early 2020 and create opportunities for businesses and communities across the Midlands.
Speaking following the signing of the MOU, Sir John Peace, Chair of the Midlands Engine partnership, said:
I welcome today’s agreement between the Midlands Engine partnership and Zhejiang. This MoU further underlines our commitment to work with China, demonstrating how the Midlands Engine partnership is helping to unlock productive economic growth and deliver investment that benefits the whole region.
Iain Gillespie, Chair of the Midlands Engine Innovation and Enterprise Strategic Theme Group and Pro-Vice-Chancellor Research & Enterprise at the University of Leicester, said:
I am delighted with the signing of this agreement which will enable business growth and further strengthen the capabilities of our world class universities. Across the Midlands, we have already built strong relationships with businesses and universities in some of China’s most important regions. Today’s Memorandum of Understanding demonstrates we are deepening these ties for the benefit of businesses, universities and communities here in the Midlands.