With the world’s second biggest economy, more than 2,000 universities and colleges and over 25 million students, cooperation with China has far-reaching possibilities. UniSA has a long and rich history of collaboration in China and has recently partnered with three of China’s leading universities – Tianjin University, Shandong University and Beijing Normal University - to establish joint research centres. The University of South Australia values its Chinese partnerships and recognises the benefits of globally focussed institutions working together to seek solutions to the challenges of the 21st century.

The University of South Australia has a window of opportunity to develop close and sustainable partnerships that are of continuing value by addressing all aspects of China’s importance in the world: as a leader in the production of scientific knowledge (probably the dominant force within a few years) as well as the world’s largest market for both onshore and offshore educational delivery, with a view to laying the foundations of a long-term presence.

Key partners

Tianjin University   

The Future Industries Institute at the University of South Australia is collaborating with Tianjin University in the areas of physical chemistry and materials science. This relationship has expanded to the 2013 launch of a joint research centre in sustainable urban development and architecture.  There have been numerous collaborations and joint activities, including student and staff exchange, research project placements, industry internships and collaborative research. For instance, architecture students have joined cohorts from Tianjin and University of Hong Kong in an annual architecture camp in China looking at significant heritage sites; high achieving undergraduate students from Tianjin have completed research placements at the Future Industries Institute and a UniSA winner of the Australia Awards Prime Minister’s Scholarship joined Tianjin to complete her honours thesis; industrial design and engineering students have completed internships in companies in Tianjin arranged by Tianjin University; and staff from Tianjin’s International Office have completed internships in Adelaide.

Australian Government’s New Colombo Plan multi-year funding has been received to facilitate Product Design Internships for undergraduate students managed through Tianjin and supported by their local industry.


Shandong University   

The second of UniSA’s strategic joint centres in China was opened in Jinan, Shandong Province, by SA Premier Jay Weatherill in 2013.  The event was positioned as central to the sister state relationship between Shandong Province and South Australia.  The China-Australia Centre for Health Science Research will develop research, teaching and staff and student exchange collaborations between Shandong University and UniSA in pharmacy and drug development, nursing, public and population health and other areas, combining the strengths of the two universities to address shared health challenges in Australia and China. Multi-year funding has been received through the Australian Government’s New Colombo Plan to support Pharmaceutical Science Placements for undergraduate students managed through Shandong and the China-Australia Research Centre for Health Sciences.  A successful Second Joint Symposium was held at UniSA in late 2015, involving UniSA and Shandong University researchers. To date 30 research projects, mainly in the area of drug development, have been jointly funded.

Outputs from these initial 10 projects:  

  •  13 international conference presentations
  •  6 research papers published in refereed journals
  •  A further 10 papers are in process of submission or revision to refereed journals
  •  1 patent filed

Shandong business students have recently been supported through a UniSA student exchange scholarship to assist with their living expenses while studying in Adelaide, this link will help to enhance collaboration in Tourism and Leisure Management . UniSA also recently hosted a Shandong University staff member on an Australia Government funded Endeavour Executive Award, for a four month internship. 

The Shandong University School of Nursing hosts the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre (WHO CC) for Nursing Care for Vulnerable Groups and UniSA has developed co-operation in the area of mental health and aged care. There are also possibilities for clinical evaluation trials in the extensive network of hospitals associated with Shandong University and opportunities for University of South Australia students to participate in clinical placements with the aid of English speaking support staff. 

Beijing Normal University   

A Joint Research Centre for Social Management is being developed with Beijing Normal University’s China Academy of Social Management, designated as key by the Chinese Ministry of Education. Research synergies have been identified with UniSA’s Centre for Asian Business and Hawke Research Institute and discussions about collaboration cover a broad range of fields; economics, business and social science.

Beijing Normal University (BNU) and the University of South Australia are also currently preparing an application to establish a Confucius Institute to be located in Adelaide. Other collaborations to date have included student exchange and development of 3+1+1 programs in business disciplines.

UniSA and BNU are also currently applying for an Endeavour Executive Fellowship scholarship to host a staff member from International Office of BNU’s Business School.

Shanghai Jiaotong University    

A very new relationship has been launched by the Australian Technology Network (ATN) of universities with Shanghai Jiaotong University to establish a centre for industry engaged PhDs. UniSA is one of 5 members of the ATN: the others are Curtin University, RMIT University, University of Technology Sydney and Queensland University of Technology.

Beijing Jiaotong University of Technology   

As one of the 5 Jiaotong Universities in China, the founding history of BJTU can be traced back to 1896. Today, besides the Graduate School and the School of Distance Learning and Continuing Education, the University has 12 academic schools including Civil Engineering and Architecture, the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, the School of Foreign Languages and Mass Communication and the Department of Architecture and Art Design.

Funding  has been received by UniSA, under the Government’s new Endeavour Asia Postgraduate Program, to support Master of Architecture students to undertake a collaborative project with BJUT students.  


The University of South Australia formally established its Chinese alumni chapter in 2014.  Under the umbrella of the Western Returned Scholars Association, Australian and New Zealand Chapter, the University’s Chinese alumni chapter will provide ongoing engagement between the University and its Chinese alumni. The University is committed to growing mutually beneficial relationships with its Chinese alumni and international partners and ensuring it is globally visible, with worldwide reach and leverage.

Areas of study and research

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