Remarks at the launch of the UNSW China Centre, Shanghai

Thank you, Laurie and Rachel.
• Mr An Daochang, Deputy Director General, Ministry of Science & Technology, Torch High Technology Industry Development Centre;
• Mr Xie Jiangang, Mayor of Shanghai Yangpu District Government;
• Mr Ding Huanhuan, Deputy Mayor of Shanghai Yangpu District Government;
• Mr Graeme Meehan, Australian Consul-General to Shanghai;
• distinguished guests ladies and gentlemen…good morning.

It is terrific to be here, in the heart of Shanghai, for the official opening of UNSW China Centre. At UNSW’s Chinese New Year reception in Sydney earlier this year, I spoke about the significance of the Year of the Dog, and the good fortune and loyal friendship the symbol of the dog represents.

I said that good fortune is emblematic of the relationship between UNSW and our friends in China, and that while it is nice when good fortune happens by chance, it is even better when we work together to create our own.

I can’t think of a better expression of creating our own good fortune than the centre we open today.

Since our first Chinese student arrived at UNSW in 1979, UNSW and the People’s Republic of China have forged an enduring and firm friendship. UNSW is today home to 12,500 Chinese international students, and we are delighted to see record-level Chinese enrolments continue.

UNSW established its first China office in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, in 2014. We have a valued relationship with two of China’s great universities.

Today is the 10th anniversary of our longstanding and productive relationship with Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and we are exceptionally proud of our work with Tsinghua University as well.

In fact, our relationship with Tsinghua’s TusStar has been fundamental to our new partnership with Yangpu, and I acknowledge the presence of Ms Han Wei here today.

Ms Han has been instrumental in inspiring us to engage with China’s innovation system better, and work with partners here in Shanghai and beyond.

Last year’s iGlobal Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition—held right where we are today—was not only an important milestone in developing UNSW’s Founders Program, it inspired us to think deeply about how we can expand our partnership with both Yangpu and TusStar.

We look forward to our new China Centre being an important platform to build these relationships.

In 2016, UNSW became home to the first Torch Precinct outside of China, and not long after that, we became a partner in the Centre for Transformational Environmental Technology at the Torch Precinct in Yixing.

Thanks to the opportunities these partnerships have made possible, UNSW now has more than $100 million worth of research contracts with Chinese industry partners in the active pipeline, with nearly $60 million of actual contracts signed with over 30 Chinese companies.

It is with this shared history, and shared success, that we launch this new China Centre today. Yangpu will be at the heart of our China engagement, and this important district in Shanghai will serve as headquarters for UNSW’s extensive operations in China.

Whether it is commercialising our IP portfolio and harnessing our technology to upgrade the economic base of this part of Shanghai, or as we are doing so this weekend, using Yangpu as a base for our flagship China Open Day to showcase our researchers to prospective students and their families…Yangpu will be core to our future in China.

It has been made possible, of course, due to the vision of the Shanghai Yangpu District Government, who I’d like to acknowledge once again.

UNSW has great admiration for the Government’s efforts to transform this part of Shanghai from a centre of heavy industry into a hub of high-technology and cutting-edge innovation.

I’ve been told that the Yangpu District now houses 14—or one third—of Shanghai’s universities, which places us right on the doorstep of countless potential new collaborators.

I am excited that we will be offering space here for nine teams of UNSW student and staff start-ups so they can be here on the ground in Shanghai, work with partners like TusStar, and connect into Yangpu’s dynamic entrepreneurship system.

UNSW takes great pride in our status as Australia’s global university. As UNSW celebrates its 70th anniversary next year, so too will the People’s Republic of China.

As we mark our respective milestones there will be so much to celebrate, and it is my hope that our partnership will form an enduring feature of our countries’ wider bilateral relationship.

Another point of pride for UNSW as ‘Australia’s global university’ is our willingness to evolve our offering as the global economic and education landscapes shift.

The proliferation of education been a tremendous leveller, especially for countries like China, but it has also led to some important lessons for industry—namely that investment in human capital is a must.

What UNSW has realised is that while a degree sets a foundation, learning and development really should be lifelong.

I am excited to announce today that we are launching a suite of new short courses and programs specifically for our Chinese partners.

Our Chinese partners can now access both our top researchers and our Master educators through a range of short courses tailored for the needs of our Chinese clients—Strategic Leadership, Competing through Big Data, International Franchise Law…to name a few.

My colleagues, John Arneil and Hua Zhao have been here this week discussing training needs with our Chinese partners so please introduce yourselves to them.

UNSW’s success in China would not be possible without the support from our many valuable partners.

I would like to take this opportunity to express my and UNSW’s sincere appreciation and heartfelt thanks to all who have made—and will make—our continuing presence in China such a success.

Xièxiè! Thank you very much!

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