New joint research hub with ECNU

La Trobe University and East China Normal University (ECNU) today signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a new joint research hub, initially focused on humanities and social sciences, including China-related studies.

Harnessing research strengths in humanities and social sciences across both institutions, the joint research hub will drive collaboration between academics and researchers working on China-related subjects.

Partnered with La Trobe for more than 30 years - and the oldest collaborative teaching partnership between an Australian and a Chinese university - Shanghai-based ECNU is one of China’s leading universities.

La Trobe Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar welcomed the prospect of deepening the University’s existing research collaboration with East China Normal University.

“Ranking in the world’s top 200*, La Trobe has a long tradition of excellence in humanities and social sciences, and our expertise in China is embedded across many areas of University research, from politics and law, to economics and finance,” Professor Dewar said.

“The establishment of a new joint research hub will further strengthen our long-term collaboration with East China Normal University, to the benefit of both universities and both countries.”

Professor Wang Rongming, Vice President of East China Normal University, welcomed the strengthened collaboration between the two universities.

"East China Normal University is privileged to engage ourselves in this new extension of our longstanding partnership with La Trobe University, which dates back to the mid-1980's,” Professor Wang Rongming said.

“We believe this new joint research hub will serve as an excellent scholarly platform to reap mutual benefits to both universities. There will be more active academic exchanges and collaboration via this conduit, and bring forth fruitful world-class outcomes."

At La Trobe University, the joint research hub will sit as a program within the established China Studies Research Centre, led by Professor John Makeham.

“With the aim of promoting and advancing La Trobe’s research strengths in China Studies across wide-ranging research areas, the China Studies Research Centre fosters research links with partners and institutions in Greater China, including with the prestigious East China Normal University,” Professor Makeham said.

“The Centre supports research initiatives across the whole University, from archaeology to soil sciences, marketing to philosophy, and I very much look forward to exploring some exciting new collaborative research opportunities with East China Normal University as part of our joint research hub.”

Activities to be facilitated through the new hub will include joint research projects, exchange programs for junior scholars from each university, workshops, seminars, researcher visits and annual public lectures by eminent scholars from each university in Melbourne and in Shanghai.

La Trobe’s Pro Vice-Chancellor (International), Mr Kelly Smith, said the establishment of a new research hub by La Trobe and ECNU reflects La Trobe’s commitment to building and deepening its expertise and connections with Asia and particularly China.

“La Trobe was one of the first Australian universities to engage in China through our partnership with East China Normal University, and this latest initiative further strengthens that partnership for the benefit of our local and global communities,” Mr Smith said.

About La Trobe University and ECNU

ECNU is a leading university in China and part of the prestigious 211 and 985 project. It was the first normal ("teachers") university founded after the establishment of the People's Republic of China.

The university is La Trobe’s longest standing partner in China, with connections going back to the 1980s.

The two universities have jointly established a Diploma in Business program – one of the oldest such programs operating between an Australian and Chinese university, starting in 1995, with more than 2500 graduates up until now.

*Times Higher Education Subject Rankings 2018. Arts and Humanities ranked 194th in the world and third in Victoria.

Photo caption L-R: Ms Xu Cheng, Program Officer International Exchange Division, ECNU; Professor Wang Rongming, Vice President, ECNU; Professor John Dewar, Vice Chancellor, La Trobe University; Professor Simon Evans, Pro Vice Chancellor, College of Arts, Social Sciences and Commerce, La Trobe University.


Media Contact: Claire Bowers – - 9479 2315 / 0437279903