University strengthens research links with China through innovative PhD network

The launch of a new research network linking China and the UK is reinforcing Plymouth’s place on the map of international postgraduate education.

CODEX is a unique full-time PhD programme that sees the University of Plymouth partner with three Chinese universities, all ranked in the country’s top ten: Jiangnan University; Nanjing University of the Arts; and Soochow University.

Led by academics in the University’s School of Art, Design and Architecture and the iDAT research lab, CODEX is a transnational, intercultural and interdisciplinary programme focusing broadly on creative subjects and technological innovation. It will use a novel co-tutoring model to offer PhD researchers access to the University’s experts as supervisors, alongside academics from the three high-status Chinese institutions. Doctorates will be awarded by the University of Plymouth.

Students from China, where art and design is increasingly being recognised as a key economic growth area, will get the chance to spend the first 18 months of their PhD based at the University of Plymouth. The second ‘residency’ will see them return to China to work in some of the country’s top research labs, which are housed in the three Universities, while continuing to be supervised – via distance learning and composite sessions – by Plymouth staff.

CODEX was launched late last year at an event hosted by Jiangnan University as part of the Cumulus Wuxi 2018 conference. Attended by 180 people including the Deans of the Chinese institutions and University of Plymouth staff, the launch saw representatives of the British Council in China officially endorsing the programme for its innovative approach to transnational collaboration in postgraduate education.  

CODEX is being led by Programme Director, Professor Mike Phillips and Dr Gianni Corino, Network Coordinator and Associate Head of School (International) for the School of Art, Design and Architecture. It follows several years of collaboration between the University and institutions in Jiangsu Province, including the agreement between Plymouth and Nanjing University of the Arts to run a joint undergraduate award in Game Design that was officially approved by China’s Ministry of Education. This programme has received around 1,000 applications a year for the 50 places on offer.    

Dr Corino said: 

“At the University and in the School of Art, Design and Architecture we have researchers with a proven commitment to interdisciplinarity and technological innovation in design. This is a new model that will open up opportunities for research and educational collaboration across borders, and crucially across disciplines as well.

“CODEX is reinforcing Plymouth’s place on the map of international postgraduate education. We look forward to continuing to build and strengthen intercultural research links with our Chinese partners.”

For more information on CODEX, visit the website.