Purdue expands partnerships with two top Chinese universities

May 17, 2010

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University President France A. Córdova will meet with the leaders of two Chinese universities to enhance collaborative research and academic programs.

Córdova, a Purdue delegation, and the leaders of Tsinghua University and China Agricultural University are scheduled to meet May 18-21 in Beijing. Signing ceremonies for letters of intent and discussions will set the stage for future research collaborations and student and faculty exchanges, building on existing collaborations in research and study-abroad programs.

"Tsinghua University and China Agricultural University are two of the top academic institutions in the country. Working with Purdue will advance knowledge to help solve shared global challenges and prepare students in both countries to compete and cooperate in a global economy," Córdova said.

Tsinghua University is similar academically to Purdue, with top-ranked programs in engineering, science and technology. Existing research collaborations include using biosensors to learn why some human cells don't produce insulin and ways to grow more rice with less fertilizer. The visit will feature tours of the College of Medicine and the Tsinghua Science Park, the counterpart to the Purdue Research Park, and discussions about collaborations. Michael Brzezinski, Purdue interim vice provost and dean of international programs, said the meeting between Córdova and Tsinghua President Gu Binglin will set the stage for significant research collaborations in clean energy, earthquake mitigation, climate and human health.

"The solutions we find together will help solve problems we face separately. Some of the best scientists in the world work at these universities, and our partnership holds great promise," Brzezinski said.

At CAU, Córdova will meet with Council Chairperson Qu Zhenyuan and university leaders in food and agricultural research. CAU and Purdue's College of Agriculture have had a decade-long relationship, and CAU plans to hold a "Purdue Day" to celebrate the visit.

A highlight of the event will be a presidential symposium on global food security, with remarks by Purdue's first World Food Prize winner Phil Nelson and He Kang, China's 1993 World Food Prize winner. Nelson won the 2007 World Food Prize for developing aseptic processing of food for long-term storage and transportation. China's former minister of agriculture, He won for making the country self-sufficient in food production, despite the fact that China has 22 percent of the world's population, yet only 7 percent of the world's arable land.

Other celebration participants will include parents of Chinese students studying at Purdue and Purdue students studying abroad in China.

"We have a long association with China Agricultural University in the area of undergraduate education," said Jay Akridge, Purdue's Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture and master of ceremonies for the symposium. "More international undergraduate students come to Purdue Agriculture from CAU than any other university. Purdue Day will be a time to celebrate that partnership, as well as to discuss opportunities to grow our partnership through research collaborations and student and faculty exchanges between our two institutions."

The day ends with a dinner for students and Purdue alumni followed by a gala of cultural events put on by CAU and Purdue students.

An additional purpose of the visit is to reinforce earlier trade missions by Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels last year and help set the stage for an agricultural trade mission by Indiana Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman to China in June. Skillman's delegation also will visit CAU. China is Indiana's fourth-largest customer for agriculture exports.

The Purdue trip includes three alumni receptions in Beijing and one in Hong Kong on May 22. Purdue has 674 Chinese alumni.

"These visits are very popular with Purdue alumni who live in China. They value their connection to Purdue and their time in America. These strong connections also help foster opportunities for our students and for Indiana," Córdova said.

A Web journal with daily updates of the visit and activities will be available at https://www.purdue.edu/global2010