The Government is actively promoting the role of UK universities in China and India through Government-to-Government forums and bilateral programmes. We recognise the educational, economic and diplomatic importance of international higher education collaboration for the UK.
At the UK-China Education Summit in September 2015, I signed a new UK-China Partners in Education Framework with China’s then Minister for Education, Yuan Guiren. The Framework aims to increase collaboration across all areas of education, including university collaboration. Last September, I led a delegation of 25 senior UK university representatives to China for the Pujiang Innovation Forum, China’s leading innovation conference. Last month, the Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening, and China’s new Minister for Education, Chen Baosheng, co-chaired the 9th UK-China Education Summit in Beijing. They approved an Action Plan to operationalise the new Framework. It includes a new UK-China Knowledge Economy and Education Partnership programme (KEEP) focusing on larger scale university collaborations to ensure the UK is building competitive and sustainable long-term partnerships with China. The UK is currently the number one transnational education provider in China with over 270 joint initiatives at higher education level. Many UK universities are active partners in joint UK-China research projects funded under the auspices of the Newton Fund.
In November 2016, I also led a delegation of 25 UK universities to the UK-India Tech Summit, where they had the opportunity to engage with Indian institutions and to create strong and long lasting links with India. I also met with both the Minister for Human Resource Development and the Indian Minister for Science and Technology, with whom I hosted a celebration of the links between our two countries research communities. Forums such as the UK-India Tech Summit are important opportunities to promote UK ties with India.
The UK-India Education and Research Initiative is successfully creating UK-India partnerships in education and research. It has so far delivered over 1000 UK-India partnerships across all areas of education and research, and 25,000 exchanges of academics, researches and students. This initiative has proven to be popular and the Government has extended the UK-India Education and Research Initiative by another five years to 2021 with a new £10m investment for partnerships in research, leadership and skills. This year we announced the first call for applications and received almost 400 from UK and Indian institutions.
The Government is also promoting the role of UK universities in India through the Newton Fund, or the Newton Bhabha Fund as it is known locally. The Newton Bhabha Fund promotes partnerships between UK and Indian universities to address some of the grand challenges that the world faces today. Programmes under the Newton Fund are creating research links and exchanges and are promoting the UK’s universities not only as centres of excellence, but also the positive role that they and the UK can take in the world.