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Recently, a delegation from Halmstad University, including Vice-Chancellor Mikael Alexandersson travelled to China. During their stay, a major collaboration agreement was signed, as well as Mikael Alexandersson being awarded the title of Honorary Professor at Beijing Information Science & Technology University.
The trip to China was a huge success; therefore, Halmstad University was delighted to be hosts when Hu Sheng, President of the Shanghai Dianji University, visited our university the other week.
– I am very happy about the outcome of our trip to China. Our goal is a long-term mutual exchange that we hope will lead to both positive societal development and innovation, says Mikael Alexandersson.
The trip and its results both consolidate and expand Halmstad University’s existing presence in China, which today contains several major collaborations. Halmstad University’s unique position in China could be seen quite clearly last winter, when the Shanghai local government ceremoniously proclaimed Halmstad University to a “Practice-Based Platform” – i.e. a strategically important partner.
Halmstad University’s ten-day visit to China started in the capital Beijing. The delegation visited BISTU (Beijing Information Science & Technology University) – a university that Halmstad University has worked with for six years. In connection to the visit, Vice-Chancellor Mikael Alexandersson was awarded the title of Honorary Professor and Honorary Member of the university's academic board.
– I'm obviously very honoured and at the same time quite humbled by these awards. We now have a university that has reached such a high level of collaboration with BISTU that we can meet at Vice-Chancellor level. It is important, not only for us as a learning institution, but also for Sweden in general, says Mikael Alexandersson.
During their stay in Beijing, the Swedish delegation had the opportunity to visit Goldwind – China’s largest company concerning wind power; a company that has a key role in the country’s quest regarding the development of green energy. The company currently uses a business model created for them by researchers at Halmstad University. The visit also included a meeting with representatives from NCEPU (North China Electric Power University).
After Beijing, the delegation travelled to Shanghai to visit SDJU (Shanghai Dianji University) – a university that Halmstad University has been collaborating with for several years .While at SDJU, a five-year framework agreement regarding collaboration was signed. This is, in fact, the single, biggest agreement in the history of Halmstad University.
– The agreement is very comprehensive indeed, and will broaden our collaboration opportunities further, says Mikael Alexandersson.
Another important visit in Shanghai was SUES (Shanghai University of Engineering Science). SUES is Halmstad University’s oldest partner in Shanghai, and the visit included strategic discussions about continued collaboration.
The delegation also visited Shanghai’s local government – not least to give thanks for having Halmstad University as one of their strategically important partners. Furthermore, the delegation needed to discuss major issues; including Halmstad University’s plans and knowledge in the subject of health and health innovation – a subject that was brought up many times during their different visits in China.
This is something that Ulf Ivarsson, International Strategist at Halmstad University and part of the delegation, is very positive towards.
– China faces similar challenges within health and an increasingly older population as we do. Therefore, it is hoped that Halmstad University will be able to help China to develop systems and solutions for welfare through, for example, health innovation, says Ulf Ivarsson.
All of the universities that were visited, as well as Shanghai’s local government, expressed a great interest in what is sometimes referred to as “The Halmstad Model”.
Mike Danilovic is a Professor of Industrial Management, Innovation and Technology Management, at the School of Business, Engineering and Science. He was part of the delegation to China, and has played a key role in the University's collaboration with Chinese partners – not least in wind power and innovation sciences. Examples of this collaboration are student and teacher exchanges.
– When Halmstad University has groups of students from China, we work with thematic programmes that are tailor-made for a specific group. In addition, we connect both academia and industry. This is a unique approach, which has been appreciated by not only the students themselves, but also by Chinese universities and Shanghai’s local government who would like to develop the concept, says Mike Danilovic, who also is holding position as “Distinguished Overseas Professor” at SDJU since three years.
Halmstad University concluded their stay to China with a visit to ZPMC (Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industry) – one of the largest crane manufacturers that are used in ports and harbours. Basically, it is all about building relationships and getting to know each other, says Mike Danilovic.
– We are extremely interested in developing our relationship with ZPMC to learn from our Chinese partners and to see if we are able to collaborate in the same way as with Goldwind. This is a first step in starting to build a long-term relationship with them; in fact, I will return in the near future to work as a guest lecturer, says Mike Danilovic.
A follow-up of the Swedish delegation’s trip to China took place recently. On Monday, October 12th, representatives from SDJU visited Halmstad University. According to Mike Danilovic the visit consolidated the consensual relationship that has developed between the two teaching institutes.
– The fact that representatives from Shanghai came here is confirmation of that the collaboration is long-term and successful for both parties. We now hope to take our exchange to another level, he says.
In connection with the visit, a personal invitation was given to Hu Sheng, the President of SDJU, for the World Team Table Tennis Championships, which are to be held in Halmstad, 2018.
Earlier in the day, the Chinese guests were given a tour of the University as well as visiting the different schools. An important part was a meeting between the Chinese delegation and the students from SDJU who are studying wind power technology in Halmstad for a special three months programme in close collaboration with Halmstad municipality and business life.
– I would like to thank you all for taking such good care of our students, stressed Hu Sheng, when he met with the management of the School of Business, Engineering and Science.
Contract education in wind power technologies is now taking place for the third year in a row, and is a very definite sign of the increasingly stronger ties between Halmstad University and SDJU. During the education programme, the students increase their knowledge in the development and construction of wind farms. They visit the wind power farms, studying different companies and institutions; therefore, linking theory with practice. The programme also includes the management of innovation and business model innovation, where students work with real cases in their analyses.
– In China, there is not the same opportunity for students to study wind energy in practice, which means that we can offer them something that they do not have. It is also the basis for how we develop our cooperation. The point is how we can complement each other, at the same time being aware that it is a slow process that takes time, says Mike Danilovic.
It is hoped that the productive and positive visit by the President Hu Sheng will improve the collaboration between Halmstad University and SDJU even further.
– We are now working hard to increase educational exchanges. This is being done by creating opportunities for even more of our own students to study part of their education in China, says Mike Danilovic.
In conjunction with an evening dinner, a written agreement between the two learning institutions was signed, which means that SDJU can send an extra ten students per year to Halmstad, in addition to the existing agreement. At the same time, strategic discussions took place between Hu Sheng and Mikael Alexandersson e.g. concerning the possibility to develop a so-called double degree programme.
Text: JOACHIM BRINK and INGRID EKSTRÖM
Photos (unless otherwise stated): MIKE DANILOVIC
"I am very happy about the outcome of our trip to China. Our goal is a long-term mutual exchange that we hope will lead to both positive societal development and innovation."
Mikael Alexandersson, Vice-Chancellor of Halmstad University