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   

In 2013 the University of South Australia developed a major partnership with Shandong University through the establishment of   The China-Australia Centre for Health Science Research (CACHSR). The centre was officially opened by Premier Jay Weatherill and the Vice Governor of Shandong Province, Xia Geng in Jinan, Shandong as a central part of the State Government Trade Mission in 2013.

CACHSR is now an international comprehensive collaborative research centre. With a multi-disciplinary stretch, CACHSR is committed to resolving the common challenges faced by China and Australia in health research areas such as pharmaceutical sciences, medicine, and public and population health. The centre also undertakes research in other scientific fields which relate to health issues, including advanced materials, nanoparticle interface science and cell therapy, together with a student exchange focus.

Key achievements of the partnership includes:  

  • $1,110,882 awarded to Dr Henrietta Venter from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) grant for project entitled, Turning antimicrobial resistance in residential aged care inside-out from the patient to facility level
  • $487,351 National Health and Medical Research Council (NH&MRC) Project grant awarded to Dr Henrietta Venter for a project entitled Reversing antibiotic resistance with efflux pump inhibitor
  • More than $1.0 million in further joint grants for new external funding submitted
  • 2 filed patents
  • 43 joint-research collaborations funded ($378,467 from each partner)
  • 27 joint-research publications, including 4 recently submitted
  • 25 conference presentations
  • 15 staff and student exchange visits
  • 23 student industry placements
  • 5 joint symposiums
  • First joint Masters in Research student commenced at UniSA in 2018

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.  

Maple Leaf Education   

UniSA and Maple Leaf Educational Asia Pacific Limited (Maple Leaf) signed a ground-breaking agreement in 2018 to open an English-Chinese (Mandarin) bilingual school within the University’s Mawson Lakes Campus. The School will be the first high school in Australia established by an independent bilingual international Chinese education group and will offer a bilingual English-Chinese curriculum for senior high school students in grades 10-12, teaching the SACE and opening in 2019.

Maple Leaf and UniSA have also established a range of other collaborative activities, including:

    • placements of UniSA student teachers in Maple Leaf schools in China
    • staff development programs run by UniSA for Maple Leaf
    • a tailor-made 5-year Science Education program for graduates from the MLES schools in China, designed to prepare them to teach science and maths back in the schools in China.

Media Releases

The bilingual high school coming to campus

First Maple Leaf school teaching in English and Mandarin to open at UniSA’s Mawson Lakes campus in 2019



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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