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Engineering PhD students excel at Future Engineer’s Leadership and Innovation Academy (FELIA) 2018, in Nanjing (China).

Three PhD students from the School of Engineering represented the University of Warwick at the Future Engineer’s Leadership and Innovation Academy (FELIA) 2018, in Nanjing (China).

FELIA brought together UK and Chinese students - from the Russell Group, and the E9 group of top Chinese universities in engineering - to work in international teams, including problem-solving, consultancy tasks, and developing business plans. The University of Warwick students comprised of Ryan Oozeerally (renewable chemicals production), Naiwu Yuan (silicon carbide applications), and Hok Chiu (brain signals processing).

The Academy began with the President’s Forum of the UK-China Consortium on Engineering Education and Research, which brought together Vice-Chancellors and representatives of all the partner universities, and the British Council. The Forum shared ideas on international research and innovation between UK and Chinese universities, as well as collaboration between universities and industry. Professor Qing Wang spoke on behalf of the University of Warwick, who thanked Professor Jihong Wang from the School of Engineering, for her work as a founding member of the Consortium.

After the Forum, the students undertook a mini-MBA, delivered by the William J Clinton Leadership Institute from Queen’s University Belfast. The course covered finance essentials, marketing strategies, to leading teams, cumulating with a presentation on consultancy task - where groups competed throughout the week. On the following week, we had seminars on design and innovation, as well as a crash course in machine learning and neural networks, run by academics from Southeast University and researchers from Huawei.

Throughout this exchange, the group went on several site visits, from industrial parks, research centres, and Huawei’s headquarters in Nanjing. Over the weekends, students visited various cultural and historic sites of significance (from the city walls, the Nanjing Museum, Confucius Temple, and the Presidential Palace, as well as country walks).

The Academy was a thoroughly insightful experience for both the UK and Chinese students - from viewpoints on engineering education and research, to sharing and learning about each other’s culture. Special thanks goes to the Professor Jihong Wang for nominating the students to attend, as well as the University of Warwick, Queen’s University Belfast, the Consortium, the British Council, the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy, and Ministry of Education (China), for making this possible.

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