First students graduate from Birmingham-Guangzhou education partnership

Stephen Jarvis, Head of College of Engineering and Physical Sciences
Stephen Jarvis, Head of College of Engineering and Physical Sciences

The first students have graduated from an innovative partnership between the University of Birmingham and Jinan University that saw them receiving degrees from both institutions.

Eighty-seven successful students received their University of Birmingham degrees in a special online ceremony organised by the Jinan University-University of Birmingham Joint Institute (J-BJI).

University of Birmingham Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir David Eastwood joined proceedings by video link to make a welcome speech alongside President of Jinan University, Professor Song Xianzhong, as students celebrated the completion of their degrees.

Senior Birmingham colleagues Professors Jon Frampton, Stephen Jarvis, and Chris Good also spoke in the online ceremony, which included a traditional University of Birmingham graduation procession.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir David Eastwood commented: "It is wonderful to see our first students graduate from the Jinan University-University of Birmingham Joint Institute. This year’s cohort has performed exceptionally well - a sign of the quality of education provided by our partnership as, together, we train the next generation of China’s mathematicians.

"J-BJI’s programmes give students in China the opportunity to achieve high-quality dual degrees, whilst experiencing the teaching and study methods used at the University of Birmingham - part of the Russell Group of elite UK universities and a global top 100 university."

President of Jinan University Professor Song Xianzhong commented: "You (students at J-BJI) have successfully obtained two degrees in four years from two century-old universities in China and the United Kingdom, and you are the pioneers at Jinan University!

"You (students at J-BJI) have a good starting point and you are already at the forefront of the pioneering process. From now on, you must keep trying and put into practice the old saying "faithfulness in words and respectfulness in deeds."

The partnership between the University of Birmingham and Jinan University was founded in 2017 allowing students to study in China and receive degrees from each university.

Subsequent postgraduate taught programmes have been linked to the innovative education programme and J-BJI students graduating today can progress onto taught postgraduate programmes in Mathematics-related subjects and programmes in the College of Medical and Dental Sciences in Birmingham.

The partnership already offers students the opportunity to earn high quality degrees from both Universities. There will be 280 places available for students in September 2021 and J-BJI will reach a steady-state of 1,200 students by 2024.

J-BJI offers dual degree programmes to students with four different specialisation options:

  • Statistics with Economics
  • Information and Computing Science
  • Applied Mathematics

Programmes are based on the Jinan University campus and taught by both Jinan University staff and a team of top University of Birmingham mathematicians.

Students experience a UK-style education in China. Each of the four-year programmes includes innovative modules designed to develop problem-solving and team-working skills. These skills will build their ability to apply mathematics to real-world problems.

Ten Birmingham alumni and staff have received Nobel Prizes. Professor David Thouless and Professor Michael Kosterlitz, two of the winners of the 2016 Nobel Prize for Physics given for work in Mathematical Physics, were members of the School of Mathematics at Birmingham in the 1970s.

Established in 1906, Jinan University is one of China’s elite group of the "211 Project" Universities. Jinan University carries out the mission of continuing the legacy of past sages whilst establishing the best disciplines to grow as a top university for future generations to benefit from one of the most prestigious universities in China. Mathematicians have been working with their Birmingham counterparts since 2011 on a range of teaching partnerships.

Professor Chris Good, Deputy Dean J-BJI and Head of the School of Mathematics at the University of Birmingham, said: "This close collaboration between our two universities is testament to the University of Birmingham’s growing reputation in China. By working in partnership to deliver high-quality education with a global impact, we are giving Chinese students skills that are highly sought after by international graduate employers."