Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

RCSI signs first Memorandum of Academic and Research Collaboration with a Chinese university

13 April 2015
RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) signed a Memorandum of Academic and Research Collaboration (MARC) with Soochow University (SU) which will see both institutions promote academic collaboration for teaching, innovative scientific research, student training, and technology development over the next five years. This significant development is the first such collaboration agreement RCSI has signed with a Chinese university. The memorandum was signed in SU on Thursday 9th April. 
 

Pictured at the signing of the Memorandum of Academic Research and Understanding between Soochow University and RCSI is Dr Helena Kelly, RCSI School of Pharmacy; Professor Xuechu Zhen, Dean of the College of Pharmaceutical Sciences Soochow University; Professor John Waddington, MCT and other members of faculty of Soochow University. Pictured (seated) is Professor Xinghong Jiang, Vice President International Affairs, Soochow University; and Professor Cathal Kelly, CEO/Registrar, RCSI.
 
An RCSI delegation which included Professor Cathal Kelly, CEO/Registrar; Professor John Waddington, Department of MCT (Molecular and Cellular Therapeutics); and Dr Helena Kelly, School of Pharmacy, travelled to Suzhou and joined in the signing of this historic agreement with officials from Soochow University including Professor Xinghong Jiang, Vice-President of SU and Professor Xuechu Zhen, Dean of the College of Pharmaceutical Sciences, SU.
 
Speaking on the occasion Professor Kelly commented, "We have received a very warm welcome from the President, the Vice-President and Faculty of Soochow University, and we look forward to deepening our strong collaborative relationship which will provide excellent opportunities for student, staff and institutional development."
This formal collaboration will be further advanced this summer with an international student exchange programme, RCSI's first International Research Summer School (IRSS), where six undergraduate students from each institution will participate in eight-week research projects in the host Principal Investigator (PI) laboratories. RCSI's students include representatives of the Schools of Medicine and Pharmacy from the Dublin campus and from the School of Medicine at RCSI's Bahrain campus, who will exchange with counterparts from the Schools of Medicine and Pharmacy in SU.
 

Pictured (l-r) is Professor Xinghong Jiang, Vice President International Affairs, SU welcoming Professor John Waddington to Soochow University as adjunct Professor of Pharmacology in the College of Pharmaceutical Sciences
 
The IRSS is being organised by the School of Pharmacy in co-operation with Dr Sarah O'Neill (MCT and Director of the RCSI Research Summer School) and Dr Garry Duffy (Anatomy), who will act as PI representative. RCSI PIs Professor Fergal O'Brien (Anatomy), Professor Donal O'Shea (Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry), Dr Steve Kerrigan (School of Pharmacy and MCT), Dr Marian Brennan (MCT), Dr Cathal Kearney (Anatomy) and Dr Helena Kelly will host the visiting students.
 
The project was led in RCSI by the School of Pharmacy's Professor Paul Gallagher, Dr Helena Kelly and Dr Liam Burke with strategic governance from Professors Cathal Kelly, Hannah McGee, Mr Michael McGrail and in SU by Professor Zhen. This collaboration developed from staff visits funded through Science Foundation Ireland's International Strategic Collaboration Award (ISCA) programme and through Professor Waddington's longstanding connection with Professor Zhen. This visit also marked the commencement of Prof Waddington's joint appointment as Professor of Pharmacology at Soochow University College of Pharmaceutical Sciences.
 
RCSI is among the top 50 most international universities in the world (Times Higher Education University World Rankings, 2014-15). It is a not-for-profit health sciences institute which focuses on education and research to drive positive change in all areas of human health worldwide. RCSI is headquartered in Dublin and is a recognised College of the National University of Ireland. In 2010, RCSI was granted independent degree awarding status by the State, which enables the College to award degrees alongside its traditional powers to award licentiates.
 
Founded in 1900, Soochow University is ranked in the top 5% of Chinese universities and is located in the ancient city of Suzhou in China's Jiangsu province, a densely populated and industrialised region close to Shanghai. SU is one of the Jiangsu provincial key comprehensive universities with over 4,000 faculty members including 1,100 professorships. It now has three major campuses covering an area of 2,705,000 square meters with a total building area more than 182 million square meters. SU has a strong culture of internationalisation and has collaborations with over 100 universities in 30 countries.