Department of Informatics


University of Sussex and Zhejiang Gongshang University inaugurate Sussex AI Institute ZJSU

The University of Sussex and ZJSU are extremely proud to have launched our Joint Institute in Artificial Intelligence.

An inauguration event on 28 October 2020 was held at Zhejiang Gongshang University to welcome the 304 students who have begun their studies at the institute and to officially launch and open the Artificial Intelligence Joint Institute – the first if its kind in China. Sussex colleagues led by our Vice-Chancellor and President attended the fantastic event remotely.

Trans-National Education (TNE) has become increasingly significant since the pandemic, as it offers an innovative way for global partners to cooperate with each other. TNE allows education to go beyond the physical space, with many in the industry starting to believe that it is the future of higher education.

The joint institute has proven to be extremely popular, achieving recruitment capacity in all four of the degree programmes on offer. On top of this, the Ministry of Education in China allowed universities to accept additional applications, in recognition that many students have been unable to travel to institutions outside China due to the pandemic.

The students are of an excellent standard, with high levels of English and other talents beyond engineering and informatics. Students demonstrated sensational performances in dance, musical and choir acts as part of the inauguration ceremony.

It is extremely important to Sussex that the new students have the best experience possible and are made to feel part of the Sussex community. The Vice-Chancellor, Prof Adam Tickell, attended the inauguration event virtually and expressed Sussex’s delight in welcoming the new students to the University. He also used the opportunity to congratulate Zhejiang’s new President, Prof Yu Jianxing, on his new role.

The ceremony was also joined by Prof Ian Wakeman, Head of School (Engineering and Informatics), who personally welcomed students and took part in a live question-and-answer session where he was able to answer students' questions directly. Topics covered in this session included: what the professional core competencies of graduates may be, how students can effectively study while on the programme, as well as potential career prospects that may result from obtaining their degrees at the institute. This session was heralded a great success and students showed how they can adapt to the new way of working and also demonstrated how technology can bring us together even with the limitations of physical distance.

In addition to this, Prof Richard Follett, Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor (International) recorded a welcome message, as did academics from the School of Engineering and Informatics who will be teaching at the institute, giving students the opportunity to meet the teachers they will be working with over the course of their degree programmes.

A student from the postgraduate Robotics cohort said: “I am so excited to be here attending the ceremony and thank you so much for the efforts made by the faculties both in Zhejiang Gongshang and Sussex for making this happen.”

Guest speakers from Huawei and Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co. Ltd, fully endorsed technologies' ability to enable us to teach remotely and stay connected. Representatives explained the significant impact these degrees can have on the development of future technologies.

The audience was also treated to several performances from fellow students, which included the appearance of dancing robots using AI technology.

We are delighted with the launch of the Sussex Artificial Intelligence Institute, Zhejiang Gongshang University and very much look forward to working with the new students and colleagues at ZJSU over the coming months.

Please visit the University’s Global Engagement webpages for more information about the joint institute. See also a full recording of the inauguration.

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By: Louise Duthie
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Last updated: Friday, 13 November 2020

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