Productive collaboration between the University of Edinburgh and China stretches back at least 160 years.

Chinese Alumni

The first Chinese graduate, Huang Kuan, received a scholarship to the University of Edinburgh in 1855. He was awarded Doctor of Medicine in 1857. Since then there have been a number of outstanding Chinese alumni of the University including:

  • The late Professor Huang Kun, who worked with Max Born, the Edinburgh Nobel prize-winner in Physics, and who received the 2001 Supreme Scientific and Technological Award from President Jiang Zemin for his pioneering work in solid state physics;
  • Professor Yang Liming, a major figure in nuclear physics in China;
  • Professor Zhong Nan-shan, who identified the SARS virus, and who received an honorary degree from the University of Edinburgh in Beijing in March 2007.

National research centre

The 2012 government backed agreement reached with Peking University to establish a National China Research Centre at Edinburgh and a National UK Research Centre at Peking is the latest example of meaningful collaboration. This opens the door to increased academic co-operation in a range of subject areas, including economic, political and cultural fields of study.


The University of Edinburgh has relationships with more than 50 top Chinese universities. These include the universities of Peking, Tsinghua, Renmin, Fudan and Xiamen, and the Beijing Film Academy amongst others.

The China Office maintains these relationships and assists with local arrangements to facilitate research symposiums. These have included those held with the Chinese People’s Association of Friendship with Foreign Countries, the National Natural Science Foundation of China, Peking University Health Centre and Guangzhou Medical University. Other activities organized by the China Office have included the University of Edinburgh Beijing Graduation Ceremony, various high-level Edinburgh alumni events and the reception to celebrate the Beijing Olympic Games at the British Embassy.

Chinese Teaching in Schools

In cooperation with the Scottish-China Education Network, the Institute has worked with Moray House College of Education to develop a teaching qualification to enable Chinese language qualifications to be offered in Scotland’s schools.