UQ and China

Partners in the global economy

UQ has a more student mobility, research collaborations, and commercialisation partnerships with China than with almost any other country. The strong linkages are a result of long-standing partnerships with Chinese institutions, particularly the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and some of the country's most influential industry bodies and organisations, including Baosteel and the National Natural Science Foundation of China. 

Fast facts


Chinese students enrolled at UQ


 China-UQ co-publications


academic staff born in China


research project collaborations


alumni in China


agreements with 82 official partners



UQ has partnered with China-based researchers on more than 2,300 co-publications in the past 5 years, largely in the areas of materials science, chemistry, environmental sciences, nanoscience and nanotechnology, and physics. Our top co-publishing partners are the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Peking University, Zhejiang University, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, and Huazhong University of Science and Technology.

Research collaborations

In the past 5 years, UQ has collaborated with 36 Chinese institutions on 68 research projects worth more than AUD 21 million (101 million RMB). UQ's top Chinese collaborator is the Chinese Academy of Sciences, followed by Tsinghua University, Nankai University, and Xi'an Jiatong University.

Research funding

In the past 5 years, UQ has received more than AUD 23.8 million (124 million RMB) from 26 Chinese organisations, including Baosteel, Shandong Fangyuan Nonferrous Metals Group, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. In this time, China has collaborated with researchers from a number of UQ schools and institutes – including the School of Mining and Mechanical Engineering, and the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology – on 52 projects.

Research at UQ

Learn about UQ research excellence, world-class facilities, and international linkages
(Chinese subtitles, 中文字幕)

Collaboration in action

Combining expertise with industrial strength

UQ’s research connections continue to broaden and expand in China, among them, the renewal for another 5-year period of the Baosteel-Australia Joint Research and Development Centre (BAJC). The additional AUD 10 million in funding brings Baosteel’s investment in BAJC to almost AUD 26 million since 2011. The collaborative centre is based at UQ and involves UNSW Sydney, Monash University, and the University of Wollongong. BAJC is Baosteel’s first overseas R&D centre, and hosts researchers, scientists, and engineers from China annually. Baosteel Group Corporation President, Mr Derong Chen, hailed the Centre as “an important part of Baosteel’s technological innovation”.

Cervical cancer vaccine now in China

One of Australia’s most well-known medical breakthroughs, the cervical cancer vaccine Cervarix, has been approved by the China Food and Drug Administration and has been distribution through GlaxoSmith Kline China since early 2017. The ground-breaking innovation, along with the Gardasil vaccine, is the result of decades of work by UQ Professor Ian Frazer and the late Chinese virologist Dr Zhou Jian. The pair’s vision to protect women against cervical cancer has resulted in more than 205 million doses of the Cervarix and Gardasil vaccines distributed in 130 countries, reducing the number of deaths by cervical cancer by around 250,000 each year. Image: Professor Frazer with Dr Jian's wife and research partner Dr Xiao Yi Sun

Revitalising the world's nonferrous metals industry

China’s Shandong Fangyuan Nonferrous Metals Group is jointly sponsoring a Professorship for the period 2015-2019. Through an AUD 2 million (10.4 million RMB) 5-year agreement, the Professorship aims to assist in the development of next-generation copper smelting technology, and to support a sustainable future for the global metals industry. The position is currently held by Dr Baojun Zhao, Associate Professor within UQ’s School of Chemical Engineering and the Pyrometallurgy Innovation Centre. Dr Zhao – an alumnus of both Peking University and UQ – has been instrumental in coordinating research activities in collaboration with engineers at the Group's headquarters in Shandong.

Mapping the human brain

A joint initiative between UQ’s Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Automation (CASIA) is using advanced imaging techniques and computational analysis to better understand brain behaviour. The leaders in brain science have worked together at the Sino-Australian Laboratory of Brainnetome in Beijing since 2013. Using neuroimaging, the collaboration is not only helping researchers understand how a healthy brain works, but is also providing insight into how disease affects brain mechanics. Ultimately, the findings will be used to understand learning and memory-forming networks, which will help deliver more effective education models in schools.

Celebrating Chinese culture, past and present

The Confucius Institute was established under an agreement between UQ and the Office of Chinese Language Council International (Hanban) in China, and in partnership with Tianjin University. In addition to promoting Chinese language, the Institute seeks to build and deepen links with China in the fields of science, engineering, and technology. The Institute is responsible for organising several China-focused events throughout the year, including study tours and workshops in Chinese studies, as well as art exhibitions and cultural performances. In 2015, the global Confucius Institute Network presented UQ President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Høj with the Outstanding Individual of the Year Award

Changing the face of parenting

The first randomised controlled trial of a western-developed parenting program in mainland China has been found to positively affect families concerned about their child’s academic performance. The Triple P – Positive Parenting Program, an initiative of UQ's Parenting and Family Support Centre, has a proven ability to increase parental confidence and to reduce child adjustment issues. Chinese parenting practices have changed in recent decades and, today, obedience-focused parenting is increasingly being replaced by more egalitarian approaches. As a result, China’s Ministry of Health has aligned itself with the program, and is helping facilitate paediatrician and psychiatrist training in Triple P methodology throughout the country.

Chinese students at UQ

Chinese students make up the largest international cohort at UQ. In the past 5 years, 9,687 Chinese students have enrolled in UQ degrees. The Bachelor and Master of CommercePhD studies, and International Hotel and Tourism Management are the most popular program choices.

The Australia-China Youth Association, Chinese Debating Association, Chinese Painting and Calligraphy Club, and UQ Chinese Students and Scholars Association are among the clubs and societies on campus that provide a platform for sharing cultures and welcoming Chinese students.

Video: Xiaohan (Hannah) Qiao, from China, studied Civil Engineering at UQ. She was chosen as a Brisbane International Student Ambassador in 2013.


Chinese culture at UQ

UQ has a long history of providing Mandarin language and Chinese culture programs, with the first Chinese classes held as early as 1967. Today, UQ students can study Mandarin Chinese through the School of Languages and Cultures, which offers more than 50 Chinese courses including Techniques in Teaching Chinese as a Second Language, and Chinese Translation and Interpreting.

The Institute of Modern Languages (IML) also offers Chinese courses (Mandarin and Cantonese) for the wider Brisbane community, as well as translation and interpreting services. In addition, the Confucius Institute manages programs and events that foster engagement between Australia and China. 

Video: the Confucius Institute at UQ (Chinese subtitles, 中文字幕​)

Student mobility

Student exchange

UQ has student exchange agreements with 15 universities in China, including all members of the prestigious C9 League. Under these agreements, 51 UQ students studied in China and 116 Chinese students studied at UQ in the past 5 years. Many have been supported by the New Colombo Plan Scholarship Program, including Bachelor of Arts/Laws student Marissa Chesher at Nanjing University (2015).

Fighting transnational crime and counterterrorism

In January/February 2017, with funding from the New Colombo Plan Mobility Program, UQ law students undertook a comparative study in how the divergent legal cultures of Australia and China tackle common policy problems relating to transnational crime and counterterrorism.

New approaches to environmental challenges

From February-June 2017, with funding from the New Colombo Plan Mobility Program, UQ Bachelor of Environmental Management students undertook industry placements in Hubei Province. In partnership with Wuhan University and various governmental and non-governmental organisations, the students investigated the environmental impact of the Three Gorges Dam – the world's largest power station in terms of installed capacity – from a range of new perspectives.

Fostering global IT innovation

In June/July 2017, with funding from the New Colombo Plan Mobility Program, UQ undergraduate students travelled to China to receive training and practical experience in initiating innovative IT products. The students were guided and mentored by IT professionals and entrepreneurs, thanks to UQ's partnership with Chinese services provider Neusoft.

UQ makes its mark in the Asian Century

The Westpac Bicentennial Foundation Asian Exchange Scholarship is helping UQ undergraduates actively contribute to Australia's success in Asia. Valued at AUD 12,000, the Scholarship has been awarded to 3 UQ students for semester 1 2017; 1 student is enrolled at Tsinghua University, while 2 students are enrolled at Peking University. 1 UQ student received the Scholarship to study at Tsinghua University in 2016.

Global entrepreneurship program

UQ’s China Mobility Program provides students with the opportunity to undertake a fully-supported internship with technology startups in China. The program is managed by the team at UQ Idea Hub, which offers students the opportunity to spend 4 weeks embedded within some of Shanghai’s best technology startups.

Video: Sun Yat-Sen University UQ double degree

Video: China Mobility Program


China is home to a significant UQ alumni network. More than 6,000 alumni live in China and 11,343 alumni were born there, including:

China alumni

President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Surrey (PhD 1991)
China Central Television (CCTV) news anchor; recipient of 2014 Australia China Alumni Award (Bachelor of Commerce 1995)
Professor and Chief Physician, Tsinghua University (Master of Tropical Health 1992)
Codelco-Fangyuan Research Fellow (PhD – metallurgy 1999)
Associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP’s Beijing office; UQ Fellow (Bachelor of Laws (Hons) and Bachelor of Arts – extended major in Chinese 2009)
Professor Jiang Haishan
China Executive Leadership Academy Pudong (CELAP) Vice-President (Master of Educational Studies 2001)
Schwarzman Scholar, Tsinghua University (Bachelor of Economics (Hons) 2014)

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Fast facts based on 2016 full year data.