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Chinese Students and Scholars Association attend New Beacon PhD Innovation & Entrepreneurship Forum

13 November 2019

New Beacon Campus recently held its first PhD Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum which was scheduled to run in tandem with its successful hosting of the China Embracing Innovation Conference chaired by Professor Richard Li-Hua.

Since announcing its vision to become a globally-connected university of the future, the founding president, Professor Li-Hua, has embarked on a number of strategic alliances to build and enhance an international reputation around East and West management theories and practices. As well as promoting greater student mobility and supporting social, cultural and economic development, these alliances have also contributed to New Beacon’s academic capacity building and global visibility.

The inaugural PhD forum provided an opportunity for civic representatives, industry and academic delegates and doctoral research students to hear about New Beacon’s exciting plans to develop and promote the Stafford Octagon Innovation Centre as an integral part of its strategy to bring higher education back to the Stafford Education and Enterprise Park campus.

Professor Richard Li-Hua set out how the Stafford Octagon Innovation Centre will deliver an applied research and incubation hub “to promote entrepreneurship and innovation, attract new enterprises, enhance start-up business performance and strengthen competition in the Local Enterprise (LEP) area.”

Director of Academic Operations at New Beacon, Paul Williams, chaired an interactive discussion with panellists including Jeremy Lefroy (MP for Stafford), Tim Clegg (Chief Executive, Stafford Borough Council), Robert Yang (Managing Director, Huawei UK), Steven Li (Business Development Director, First Plus Education Technologies) and representatives from the Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA-UK). The panel responded to delegates’ questions on skills development, on-site business support and mentoring, ‘Silk Road’ partnership opportunities in China, access to academic to courses, commercialising research, and spin-out enterprises amongst other topics.

The forum was also used to announce a new partnership between New Beacon Campus and the CSSA-UK. Established in 1988 and backed by the Education Section of the Chinese Embassy, the Chinese Students and Scholars Association in the UK has over 100 subsidiary associations located in universities and colleges as well as in places with a large concentration of Chinese students.

With over 150,000 registered members, CSSA-UK is the largest Chinese community in the country. It is committed to promoting education and cultural exchanges between China and the UK through mutual dialogue and collaborative initiatives on a wide variety of issues. It serves as a platform to bridge the gaps between East and West in order to enhance understanding and awareness among young people.

More than 30 CSSA-UK affiliated students from 18 universities whose doctoral research spanned many academic disciplines attended the forum to find out more about the enterprise and entrepreneurship opportunities linked to the Stafford Octagon Innovation Centre.

The Vice President of CSSA-UK, Ziling Zang, highlighted the ‘great success’ of the forum and commented: “I hope this partnership between New Beacon Campus and CSSA-UK can continue to grow as we cooperate in order to help students to develop their innovative ideas by providing a suitable environment for young enterprises.”

Steven Li, the Business Development Director of First Plus Education Technologies, a start-up company established by a team of young entrepreneurs who specialise in educational training and development for international students in the UK also commented: “It was a pleasure to co-host the New Beacon PhD Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum in conjunction with CSSA-UK. Running the forum alongside the 2019 China Embracing Innovation Conference created an excellent platform between local government, academic institutions, PhD students and scholars to engage with multinational enterprises such as Huawei.