University College Dublin has signed an agreement with Shenzhen University (SZU) to establish a new international college in health sciences innovation.
This initiative follows the opening in September 2012 of the Beijing-Dublin International College (BDIC), a partnership between UCD and Beijing University of Technology focused initially on computer science, engineering and finance.
UCD said it is likely to be further complemented by a larger campus development in the coastal city of Yantai focusing on agricultural science, food science, life sciences, and bioengineering when current negotiations with China Agricultural University and the Yantai Municipal Government are completed over the coming months.
When fully developed, the UCD Shenzhen international college will host three inter-related programmes: a suite of postgraduate masters, PhD and continuing professional development courses in the health sciences and healthcare management; a joint research programme in systems biology, systems medicine and connected health that will involve other higher education institutions and companies based in the Shenzhen region; and a biotechnology incubator centre to support the development of life and health sciences companies, including Irish companies seeking to do business in China.
The memorandum of agreement was signed by the president of UCD Dr Hugh Brady and the president of Shenzhen University Prof Li Qingquan in China last week. It was followed by a meeting of Richard Bruton, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, and Wu Yihuan, the vice mayor of Shenzhen Municipal Government, whose portfolio includes responsibility for education.
Both leaders welcomed the deepening of the collaboration between UCD and SZU and, in addition, had a wide ranging discussion on the potential for Ireland and Shenzhen to deepen their trade and educational links.
“The Shenzhen region is now firmly established as one of the world’s hotbeds of innovation, design and technology,” said Dr Brady. “It is also very challenged to develop a high quality healthcare system for over 20 million people.
“The UCD-SZU partnership will not only contribute to the education of the health professionals, biomedical scientists and healthcare managers that Shenzhen needs to staff its health system and biotechnology sector, but also provide valuable study abroad and internship opportunities for Irish students and a pipeline of high quality Chinese students back to UCD.
“In addition, it should provide new employment, research and funding opportunities for young Irish academics, and has the potential to contribute to the development of stronger educational, trade and cultural links between Ireland and the world’s second largest economy.”