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Manchester China Institute 曼彻斯特中国研究院

University takes centre stage with Prime Minister and Chinese business leaders

5 February 2018

President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell and Nobel Laureate, Professor Sir Kostya Novoselov of The University of Manchester addressed a group of specially selected business leaders at UK China Business Forum in Shanghai.

Prime Minister Theresa May (left) speaking at the China-UK Business Forum, and President and Vice Chancellor of The University of Manchester, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell (inset).
Prime Minister Theresa May (left) speaking at the China-UK Business Forum, and President and Vice Chancellor of The University of Manchester, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell (inset).

Dame Nancy and Sir Kostya shared the stage with two of China’s highest-profile business people – Jack Ma, founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group and Li Shufu, chairman of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co Ltd and Volvo Cars, as well as Theresa May and Liam Fox.

Speaking at the event, the Prime Minister said: "I'm proud to have brought many inspirational women in my business delegation.

"Women like Nancy Rothwell, who spoke to you earlier and whose university, Manchester, has excellent links with Wuhan, the first stop on my visit, as well as across China."

Dame Nancy and Sir Kostya were chosen as part of the current delegation in recognition of Manchester’s position as a global leader in research and innovation for example in the development of advanced materials, such as graphene, in business studies and in health innovation. It also recognises the longstanding role that Manchester and its university play in UK-China relations.

There are more than 4,800 Chinese students studying in Manchester and the University has had a centre in Shanghai since 2008 with more than 1,000 Global MBA students studying in China since it opened.

This relationship was cemented when President Xi visited The University of Manchester and its National Graphene Institute in 2015, where he met Dame Nancy, Sir Andre Geim and Sir Kostya and saw some of the latest developments and applications for the 2D material graphene.

During the current trip Dame Nancy has visited Manchester’s twin city, Wuhan, alongside the Prime Minister and attended the new UK CEO Council in Beijing which took place in the Great Hall of the People. Dame Nancy is a member of the Council alongside about 20 other UK and 20 Chinese CEOs of major businesses.

This marks a new stage in the Manchester’s relationship with China and follows the recent establishment of the University’s Manchester-China Institute, which was supported by a £5m donation from businessman, philanthropist and honorary graduate, Dr Lee Kai Hung.

The Institute is tasked with improving mutual understanding in UK-China relations, and the donation will also establish a new Chinese culture gallery at the Manchester Museum.

Dame Nancy commented: "Manchester has a vibrant Chinese cultural and business community and the country’s links with the University are growing all of the time.

"It was therefore an honour to be chosen by the Prime Minister for this delegation, to join the UK-China CEO forum and to have the opportunity to speak to fellow universities and some of China's major businesses about ways in which we can work together to solve some of the world’s most pressing issues."

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