UCD launches biotech initiative in China’s ‘Silicon Valley’

University College Dublin (UCD) and Shenzhen University (SZU) have joined forces to establish the Institute of Health Science and Innovation in the heart of China’s Silicon Valley. The collaboration integrates education, research and innovation programmes in health sciences, bioengineering and health-related technologies, healthcare management and informatics. The elements of the institute include a Health Sciences Curriculum Development Unit, a Biomedical Engineering Research and Technology Centre and a Centre for Healthcare Leadership and Innovation.

As part of the agreement, the two universities will establish a doctoral programme (MD) for all qualified SZU medical graduates. The first year of the programme will take place in Shenzhen. Following the successful completion of the first year and the state medical licensing examination of China, the students will transfer to Dublin to pursue a further two years of translational research doctoral studies in UCD School of Medicine and Medical Science with joint supervision from academics and clinicians from UCD and SZU. The students will be awarded an MD degree from UCD. “UCD has prioritised internationalisation in its new strategic plan Forming Global Minds and the agreement with Shenzhen University adds to the university’s multi-pronged links with China. Shenzhen is one of the world’s hotbeds of innovation,” said UCD president Dr Hugh Brady. For the past two years, UCD has been advising Shenzhen University on the design of the curriculum for its new medical school.

Opportunities for researchers and entrepreneurs

“Building on the strong collaboration developed recently between our two medical schools, this initiative should provide exciting new opportunities for Irish academic researchers and entrepreneurs to work in partnership with some of China’s most impressive medicine and biotechnology programmes. We also look forward to welcoming Shenzhen students to Dublin where they will be a wonderful addition to the UCD community,” Brady added.

SZU president Prof Zhang Bigong said UCD’s quality of teaching, research and facilities impressed him during his visit in 2008. The main reason why UCD has been selected as the partner was the excellent reputation of the UCD School of Medicine and Medical Science, he added. “The UCD School of Medicine and Medical Science is particularly excited by the partnership with Shenzhen University. In our experience, international partnerships such as these compel us to reflect, adjust and develop our teaching programmes with needs of the global citizen in mind.” said Prof William G Powderly, head of the UCD School of Medicine and Medical Science.

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