The academic backdrop for Erna Solberg's China visit
Prime Minister Erna Solberg is now on her way to China at the head of a large Norwegian delegation. This gives me a good opportunity to present an overview of the extensive cooperation that the University of Oslo (UiO) enjoys with China in the realms of research, education and innovation.
(English translation of the blog from Tuesday)
Our cooperation with China covers a broad range of topics spanning from human rights to the green shift. As rector of the University of Oslo I embrace the normalization of diplomatic and political relations between Norway and China.
China is a priority partner for the University. We have agreements with most of China's leading research and educational institutions. Several agreements have been signed in recent years, including one between the Faculty of Law and top universities in Beijing such as Renmin University and China University of Political Science and Law (CUPL). In addition, we have strengthened our long lasting relationships with Peking University, Fudan University, Tsinghua University and Zhejiang University. The Chinese Academy of Sciences is also a very important partner for the University. We would like to ensure that our cooperation is developed even further. I am therefore happy to note that four Chinese delegations at the highest level will be visiting UiO over the next few weeks.
The educational and research cooperation with China
UiO's cooperation with China ranges from sinology to solar physics, law, gender studies, cancer research and greenhouse gas emissions and involves all of our eight faculties and most units at the University. Chinese students represent the second largest international student group at the university and the fourth largest group at PhD level.
Successful and long-lasting partnership between the University and Chinese partners
UiO signed its first two bilateral agreements in 1995, with Peking University and Fudan University. We helped establish the Nordic Center Fudan together with other Nordic universities. Since then, the scope of cooperation China has broadened. The Faculty of Medicine has among other things a long-term cooperation with Peking University Health Science Center (PUHSC), where the University is included as one of seven select European partners. Together with the Oslo University Hospital the faculty has established a broad cooperation with PUHSC which includes several Centres of Excellence in cancer research. Three of the University of Oslo's leading research groups in life sciences, physics and medicine have recently been successful in their applications to the Research Council for three-year partnership projects involving Chinese partners through the INTPART program. This program will support and develop excellent research through long-term international partnerships in research, education and innovation.
UiO cooperates with China on climate and environment through projects such as AIRBORNE (Pollution, Climate Change, and Visions of Sustainability in China) and the consortium SINCIERE (Sino-Norwegian Center for Interdisciplinary Environmental Research) in which UiO and other Norwegian research institutions collaborate with the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). Relevant for the green shift is SiNorAPV: Sino-Norwegian Alliance in Photovoltaics, a three-year project coordinated by Professor Andrej Kuznetsov, Center for Materials Science and Nanotechnology (SMN).
Partners include Tsinghua University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
The China Program at the Norwegian Center for Human Rights (NCHR) can look back on 20 years as one of the main international players dedicated to the promotion of human rights education in China. Recipe for success is long-term efforts, a research-based approach, and a close cooperation and strong friendship ties with Chinese partners. The program contributed to the publication of China's first textbook on human rights. Thanks to Norwegian support, more than 600 lawyers have participated in courses on international human rights in China. More than 50 visiting scholars from China have enjoyed long-term stays at NCHR, and it is very encouraging that an increasing number of China's legal faculties open courses in human rights. Many of the scholars involved have participated in NCHR activities. In April this year the NCHR sends several delegations to China to develop new cooperative projects with partner universities. Relevant fields include the UN human rights system, sustainability goals, the Nordic welfare model, women's rights and the rule of law.
Education Cooperation and student exchange
Student exchange with China is very important for UiO. Among Norwegian institutions UiO is the University that receives and sends the most students from / to China (figures from DBH). Several of our faculties have well-established exchange programs for China. One example is CareerAsia, established by the Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages (IKOS). Norwegian businesses need people who are proficient in Asian languages and who know the business culture of emerging economies and of the Asian giants. IKOS has developed a one-year program that provides bachelor students in language and area studies with the opportunity to learn language, business culture and management through work practices in China, Japan and India. IKOS has also developed a dual master's degree in Chinese society and politics in close cooperation with Zhejiang University and the universities of Stockholm, Aarhus and Copenhagen. Last but not least, IKOS has entered into a prolonged exchange cooperation with Peking University which includes 20 to 40 students per year in the 3rd semester of the bachelor program Chinese with China Studies. Together with Aarhus University and the University of Würzburg, UiO has established a center under the auspices of SIS (School of International Studies) at Peking University. This center is called ECLC (European Chinese Language and Culture Program).
In 2015 the Center for Development and the Environment (SUM) developed Norway's first international MOOC "What works?". This was done in collaboration with Stanford University and China Agricultural University. Over 7,000 participants from 55 countries participated through the platform Future Learn.
Finally I should mention that in August this year UiO and the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) arrange the 6th Sino-Nordic Gender Conference. This year's conference is entitled "Age Agency ambiguity - gender and generation in times of change." I trust the conference will attract many participants, also from abroad.
This was a brief overview of UiO’s cooperation with China. We can confirm in no uncertain terms that there is a well-developed academic backdrop for the Prime Minister's visit to China. Most likely the new funding schemes of the Norwegian Research Council and SIU will contribute to further development of the University of Oslo's longstanding cooperation with leading Chinese partners. This partnership has not been without problems in recent years. However, now we can expect an increased exchange of researchers as well as students. This is something both parties will benefit from.
For more information about our China Partnership, please see our Global Pages.