Strategic partnership in China

(Edmonton) A strategic partnership with the medical school at one of China’s top-ranked universities went from vision to reality when a delegation of researchers from the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry travelled there recently for a “mini-symposium” with their new colleagues.

Last spring the faculty announced it had struck a formal relationship with the medical at Zhejiang University to facilitate research and educational initiatives. FoMD researchers were matched with Chinese investigators working in similar areas before meeting them face to face in November, said Marek Michalak, the faculty’s vice-dean of research who led the delegation.

It was a successful trip with much accomplished, Michalak said. The research collaborations are in fields as diverse as diabetes, virology, neuroscience, cardiology, cell biology and biochemistry, and “the quality of the science presented at the symposium was excellent,” Michalak said. The collaborators are required to submit research proposals, which, if accepted, will be funded with small grants from the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry and the China Institute at the University of Alberta.   

A vice-president of the Zhejiang University welcomed the Canadian delegation, said Michalak. “He proposed that we should build towards summer projects – their students would come to the U of A, and they would welcome our faculty to do some teaching at Zhejiang University.” It could be a way of introducing how Westerners deliver educational programs, Michalak suggested.   
This global health initiative is also important and beneficial for the faculty and the U of A, he said, noting China’s growing stature and robust economy. “We have to have relationships with other countries, particularly with China. China is amazing … it’s exploding (with activity.)” 

“I think this is just the beginning of what we will do with China,” he said. “This present collaboration with our colleagues at Zhejiang University is a good example of the type of relationship that works.” There are other Chinese universities interested in forming a partnership with the FoMD, he added.

Zhejiang University (pronounced jay-jang) is located in the city of Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province.