4 April 2013

New research centre focuses on the interaction between China and Europe


Researchers from University of Copenhagen and Fudan University in China are to collaborate in a new centre that opens 16 April 2013 at the University of Copenhagen. The centre will be the first of its kind in Europe with focus on research in the interaction between China and Europe. It will strengthen Fudan University’s position in Europe and Denmark’s relations to China - an important partner for knowledge environments and for Danish business and industry.

Today, no one doubts the global significance of China. With Fudan-Europe Centre for Modern and Comparative China Studies at the University of Copenhagen, Danish and European researchers will get a new platform to develop a deeper understanding of Chinese culture and society. At the same time, researchers will get a chance to follow China’s rapid development at close range.

"At University of Copenhagen, we have focused strategically on Asia research for several years. The new centre will strengthen the University’s research considerably and give us a prominent position in Europe on this large and highly important field. Danish research has a good position in China, but China is expanding fast and we need to be able to keep up and to develop new initiatives within areas including the social sciences and humanities," says Ralf Hemmingsen, Rector of University of Copenhagen.

Two-way research

The Chinese researchers and students will gain a new window to European culture and to the interaction between the two parts of the world.

"It has been a great honour to work with University of Copenhagen in establishing the first Fudan China Studies Centre in Europe. We sincerely hope that the centre will serve as a bridge as well as a platform for exchanges of views between European and Chinese scholars. The centre is also expected to promote a mutual understanding which I believe is of great significance to a more harmonious world," says Yang Yuliang, President of Fudan University.

The centre will strengthen the cooperation across Europe and China with research in areas such as politics and economics and will be located at Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS). Fudan University appoints Professor Liu Chunrong as Deputy Director and Director of NIAS, Geir Helgesen will be the Danish Director of the centre.

According to Geir Helgesen, the foundation of the centre is the very notion of two-way research and an important part of the collaboration is for the centre to further projects which collate developments in China and Europe. The emphasis of the partnership will initially be within the social sciences with a bridge to the Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies at the Faculty of Humanities.

China looks to the 'Nordic model'

In recent years, the researchers at Nordic Institute for Asia Studies (NIAS) have noticed a growing interest in the 'Nordic model' from China and East-Asia. According to Geir Helgesen, the current crisis in our part of the world has meant that the Asian focus has shifted from USA and some of the bigger European nations to the Nordic countries where a more balanced social model, with constructive relations between public and private interests, is in place.

"For a long time, China has studied our collective welfare in the Nordic countries, but now China expands the focus and looks at the classical Nordic social institutions and not least the political culture that lies behind," says Geir Helgesen.

Central importance to Denmark

The Presidents from Fudan University and Rector from University of Copenhagen will sign the agreement between the two universities in Shanghai in mid-April. The Danish Ambassador to China and representatives from the Danish Innovation Centre in Shanghai will participate in the event.

The new centre in Copenhagen will be celebrated with a conference on China’s current political and economic challenges on 15 April and with an opening ceremony on 16 April. A Chinese delegation lead by the Vice President of Fudan University, the Chinese Ambassador to Denmark, the Danish Minister for Science, Innovation and Higher Education Morten Østergaard and representatives from the University of Copenhagen will participate in the opening ceremony.

"I am very pleased that our research collaboration with China will be strengthened via the new centre. China is a nation of growth and an important partner to Denmark. Our understanding of China and the Chinese culture is essential to both the Danish research and education environments and to Danish business and export. As such, it is good that our researchers and students will have the chance to follow the development in China closely. And it is just as positive that the Chinese will gain a better understanding of European culture," says Morten Østergaard.


Director, PhD Geir Helgesen
Nordic Institute for Asian studies (NIAS)
Mobile: +45 23 24 06 09

Communications officer
Nina Henriette Pedersen
Faculty of Social Sciences
Mobile: +45 26 84 20 17