Working and researching in China Working and researching in China

The Chinese Higher Education (HE) sector is the largest in the world - and it is still growing rapidly. Chinese universities are committed to increase the number of students they have, and to encourage international students to study there: this is in addition to the existing estimated 20m students already in 2000 HEIs (Higher Education Institutions) in China.

  • HEI are required to improve research and teaching standards according to the protocol Project 211. The aim is to produce highly qualified graduates who will provide a workforce for implementing social and economic development, and for the commercialisation of research findings. There are currently just under 120 accredited institutions in Project 211, which have met the highest standards in science, technology and human resources. The majority of doctoral and postgraduate programmes are conducted in these universities, which also attract half of all international students visiting China. Unsurprisingly, they also attract the most funding and have the best facilities, including virtually all of the countries key laboratories.
  • Additionally, a further 39 universities have benefited from funding allocation to build new research centres, to improve facilities, hold international conferences, and attract excellent visiting scholars (Project 985).
  • The relevant institutions under both schemes are listed here:
  • The top 10 Chinese universities are: Peking University; Tsinghua University; Zhejiang University; Fudan University; Nanjing University; Wuhan University; Shanghai Jiao Tong University; Beijing Normal University; Sun Yat-sen University; Renmin University of China
  • Outside of these key institutions, funding for HE can be minimal, and second-tier regional universities and colleges are not so well-placed: quality, support facilities, qualified academic staff and graduate competencies are areas that have caused concern.
  • Part-time/adjunct positions are also available for short periods.
  • Teaching is likely to be in English. On learning and teaching culture, see:
  • There is a perception that academic freedom may be compromised by government control over university administration and the curriculum: Course need permission from the government to be run.

Research funding:

Government-sourced research funding is increasing in China, predominantly in science and engineering.

UK-China partnerships:

Some ‘redbrick’ UK universities have established campuses/collaboration in China: namely, Nottingham, Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool, and the Sino-British joint degree program (Queen Mary, University of London and Beijing University of Posts and Technology). Middlesex plans to open a campus in China in 2014.

Post-doc positions in China:

China's postdoctoral system was established in 1985. Chinese universities are looking to increase their numbers of post-doc researchers. Reputedly, the Chinese system lacks mechanisms of and incentives for a two-way exchange in the training of postdocs: it provides strong support to encourage Chinese PhDs to undertake postdoctoral training abroad, but it lacks mechanisms and support for international postdocs in China.

  • Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology (SIBCB) at the Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences (SIBS), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) – The SIBCB has collaborated with the John Innes Centre.
  • (Lectureships facilitated in China for German-speakers)

Stay Connected

Connect with our UEA Alumni in China LinkedIn group, and network with other Alumni in China.