Press Release from the Information Office at Lund University
Solveig Ståhl +46+46-2227016, 30 january 1996

EU-China Higher Education Cooperation Programme

The Utrecht Network and Lund University in Sweden have been given the key responsibilities for implementing a Sino -European programme on European Studies in China, the "EU China Higher Education Cooperation Programme". The programme was agreed between the EU and China earlier in the year. It is one of the first initiatives under the new strategy for EU relations with China.

The aim of the educational programme is to spread knowledge of the European Union and its member states in China. It concerns social studies in a broad sense, for example, economic policy, justice, administration, regional policy, education, welfare policy, environmental planning and health care. The programme will also provide an introduction to new technology in education, and training in the use of such facilities as multimedia and distance education with the aid of IT.

The project will have its centre of gravity in China, but part of the tuition will take place at various universities in member states of the EU. The work in China will be organized by a Project Management Office which is to be set up and run with China's Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation and the State Education Commission, which will be Lund University's closest partner in collaboration on this project. The office will probably be located in Beijing.

Lund University is involved and acting at the request of the Utrecht Network, which was given the attractive assignment in competition with other networks and educational organizations in the European Union. The programme will run for four years and three months, with a budget of approximately 9.6 m ECU, or SEK 80 m.

The Utrecht Network consists of 22 member universities. Those with the greatest interest for participating in the project include Aarhus, Antwerp, Bochum, Bologna, Hull, Leipzig, Lille, Lund, Madrid, Strasbourg and Utrecht.

The project will be governed by an academic committee to be appointed by the
Commission of the EU. It will have six members, three from the EU and three from China. The members have not yet been nominated. In addition, a broadly based council will be set up, with fifteen members who will meet once a year.

Associate Professor Roger Greatrex, lecturer in Chinese at the Department of East Asian Languages, Lund University, has been appointed as procect director of the office in China.
He will manage the project on the spot together with a Chinese co-director to be appointed by the Chinese authorities.

Roger Greatrex says that the work of the programme will be concentrated in six of the major universities in China. The universities will be selected with the Chinese partner. The agreement declares that the principle of geographical spread is important. These universities will establish three-year visiting professorships of European Studies, the occupants of which will arrange the courses and postgraduate programmes.

The project also includes further education of the specialists on Europe already working at Chinese universities. The aim is to make their dissemination of knowledge more effective and better known.

"We also want to incorporate European Studies in the language courses run by the member states of the European Union. There are a great many bilateral courses in culture and technology, and we believe that it is possible to achieve synergetic effects there by means of joint actions," says Roger Greatrex. The programme will also include annual international conferences and workshops.

A project office will also be set up in Lund, the EU China Higher Education Office, to be run by Jenny Hallen, administrator of East Asian and South-East Asian Relations. She will coordinate the contributions of the different members of the Utrecht Network. One concrete task is to place scholars from China at different universities and colleges across the EU, including universities outside the Utrecht Network. Within the EU as in China it is important to ensure that the activities have a wide geographical spread.

"The intention is to accept only scholars with doctoral degrees. The programme comprises the entire scale from established professors to newly graduated doctors. The shortest period will be one month, the longest one year," according to Jenny Hallen. "The project also includes a programme in which we will select each year about twenty of the Chinese scholars who visit Europe, and gather them for a seminar about one or more EU topics of current interest."

Jenny Hallen and Roger Greatrex say that they are looking forward to working on this important project, which seeks to increase knowledge of the EU in China and create greater understanding. Business and industry have also shown a keen interest in the project.

"We envisage no difficulty in involving researchers in the project. On the contrary, many have already expressed an interest in taking part."

Boel Flodgren, Vice-Chancellor of Lund University, is very satisfied. She declares that she is honoured on behalf of the university that Lund and the Utrecht Network were selected.

"It is an exciting challenge for Lund to be given the responsibility for a project that is so oriented to the future. It shows what can be achieved when a network assembles its forces and its competence. We have a strong base in Lund University in the work of the Department of East Asian Languages and other departments as well. One proof of this is that the Swedish government recently gave us the task of coordinating Swedish academic activities related to East Asia and South-East Asia. We are also strong in the field of European Studies, where we have built up an attractive international master's programme."

Further information is supplied by Ms Jenny Hällen 46 46/222 30 15

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