Purdue inks partnerships with Nanshan, Tsinghua on educational, research opportunities

July 1, 2013  


WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue has signed partnership agreements with China's Nanshan Group and Tsinghua University.

The agreement with Nanshan is to explore educational and research opportunities in the airline industry. Purdue will work with Tsinghua on earthquake engineering and mass spectrometry that has applications in food safety, medicine and agriculture.

The collaboration agreement with Nanshan was reached Monday (June 24) and with Tsinghua on Wednesday (June 26) during Purdue President Mitch Daniels' trip to China to meet with Nanshan representatives and other groups to discuss economic and educational initiatives. 

Nanshan is one of China's largest entirely private-sector companies and its second largest aluminum company. It is a leader in textiles and known for its industries in energy, construction materials, tourism, education, real estate and commerce.

"The achievements of the Nanshan Group are one of the great business stories not only of modern China but of recent times worldwide," Daniels said. "Purdue is deeply proud to be their partner, and this extension of our current relationship is likely to be just the first of many future such announcements."

The new agreement supports Purdue's Department of Aviation Technology and the Nanshan Aeronautical College to pursue educational programming, research and teaching projects through a proposed Purdue-Nanshan Institute for Global Aviation Studies. Purdue's aviation program, which consistently ranks among the top three in the United States, is known for its education and applied research with specialties in flight, maintenance engineering and technical operations management. Nanshan is principal owner of Qingdao Airlines, which was established in May for Chinese air passenger and cargo transportation.

The long-term goal of the partnership is to develop a program for Nanshan to train pilots and aviation management personnel. As part of this, Purdue faculty will participate in industry-based research, and Purdue students will have access to internships and learning opportunities in China.

As Indiana governor, Daniels recruited Nanshan for its first American manufacturing site. In 2011 the company announced that its Shandong Nanshan Aluminum Co. was building and equipping a $100 million aluminum extrusion facility in Lafayette. The company also announced later that year it was giving $10 million to Purdue to support a variety of programming and activities through Purdue's Office of International Programs; research, training and consulting opportunities for faculty in the School of Materials Engineering and Krannert School of Management; and scholarships.

Purdue also signed two new collaboration agreements with Tsinghua University. Purdue's Center for Analytical Instrumentation Development will participate in one of them. The center and Tsinghua are evaluating joint research and an academic appointment to enable the collaboration and look into startup companies in both countries. This collaboration draws on Purdue's technical strength in mass spectrometry instrumentation, research and development, and Tsinghua's strength in mass spectrometry development and applications. It allows the team to take advantage of the manufacturing capability and the immediate market need in China to develop mini mass spectrometer products for food safety needs, including the detection of contaminants and food-borne pathogens. What is learned from the research and development of these products will be applied and used in the development of instruments for applications in the U.S. market.

In addition, Purdue and Tsinghua will explore a Tsinghua University-Purdue University Joint Research Center for Earthquake Engineering. The collaboration could help both universities attract research funding and develop earthquake-engineering designs to make structures more resistant to earthquakes.

Such a center would be an extension of an ongoing relationship between the two universities. Tsinghua and Purdue have an existing university-wide strategic partnership impacting many colleges on the Purdue campus. Purdue receives more doctoral degree students from Tsinghua than from any other university outside the United States.  Conversely, Purdue sends more of its students to Tsinghua for short-term study abroad opportunities than to any other institution of higher education in the world. 

Writers: Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723, apatterson@purdue.edu

Elizabeth Gardner, 765-494-2081, ekgardner@purdue.edu

Emil Venere, 765-494-4709, venere@purdue.edu 

Sources: Mitch Daniels, president@purdue.edu

Michael Brzezinski, dean of international programs, 765-496-6085, mbrzezinski@purdue.edu

Related news release: Purdue's Daniels heads to China to enhance economic, educational partnerships

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