Queen’s hosts joint sustainability workshop with Tongji University

Queen’s hosts joint sustainability workshop with Tongji University

By Mike Young, Communications Intern

July 21, 2015


Queen's in the World

Queen’s and China’s Tongji University further deepened their academic connections during the first-ever Sino-Canada Workshop for Aquatic Environmental Sustainability.

Queen’s hosted the delegation from Tongji University, which is based in Shanghai, during the three-day workshop that took place both on campus and at the Queen’s University Biological Station (QUBS) last week.

“Our partnership with our friends at Tongji will continue to provide students from both institutions with unique experiential learning opportunities and access to cutting-edge research facilities,” says Yuxiang Wang, Associate Professor in the Department of Biology and Director of the Environmental Physiology and Aquatic Ecosystem Lab at Queen’s.

[Environmental station plaque]
Dr. Hugh Horton, Associate Dean (International) in the Faculty of Arts and
Science with Dr. Jianfu Zhao, Professor at the College of Environmental
Science and Engineering, Jiaxing Tongji Institute for the Environment, standing
with the newly unveiled sign for Tongji's new environmental station.

Participants in the workshop discussed Sino-Canada environmental education and research co-operation, environmental monitoring and pollution control/rehabilitation.

“Aquatic science at Queen’s is very highly regarded internationally,” says Dr. Wang. “We’ve approached our partnership with Tongji with a focus on building meaningful relationships that are sustained through meetings, workshops, student and scholarly exchange, and collaborative research and development such as this one.”

Both universities hope to hold the workshop every year in an effort to facilitate further dialogue about pressing national and international environmental issues.

“Our environmental issues in China are not just China’s – they’re global,” says Jianfu Zhao, past dean and current professor at the College of Environmental Science and Engineering, Jiaxing Tongji Institute for the Environment and the CEO of the new Tongji-Hongkou Technology and Innovation Park. “I trust this and future workshops will serve to bolster ongoing fruitful collaborations between our universities.”

Last week’s workshop kicked-off with the unveiling of a plaque for China’s new environmental station. The Yangtze River Environmental Specimen Bank, which is a sister station to QUBS, will reside in Jiaxing, Zhejiang, China, and will house opportunities for students to interact intimately with Chinese ecological research and samples that will be collected in the field.

“Whereas most networks like Sino-Canada focus on either teaching, research or industry, we’ve been able to establish something that is multi-faceted and interdisciplinary,” says Hugh Horton, Associate Dean (International) in the Faculty of Arts and Science. “We continue to make our teaching, research and industry efforts work to support one another within this unique partnership.”

[Sino Workshop]
Participants from Queen's University with delegates from Tongji University 
at the first Sino-Canada Workshop for Aquatic Environmental Sustainability.

Presenters at this year’s workshop included Yuxiang Wang (Biology) and Professor Rongchang Wang (Tongji University), as well as QUBS Director, Professor Stephen Lougheed. Also actively involved in the collaborative research with Tongji are Professor Brian Cumming (Environmental Studies and Biology), Steven Liss, Vice-Principal (Research), Professor Dan Lefebvre (Biology), Professor Stephen Brown (Chemistry) and Professor Kathryn Stewart (Tongji University). 

The Sino-Canada Network for Environment and Sustainable Development was established in 2013, a year after Queen’s and Tongji formalized their relationship by signing a memorandum of understanding. Last year, Queen’s and Tongji established a “two-plus-two” degree program whereby Tongji students complete two years of study at their home institution before coming to Queen’s for their final two years. The first batch of Tongji students are scheduled to arrive on Queen’s campus in the fall of 2015. Expanding the university’s international reach is a strategic priority for Queen’s and China is one of the university’s areas of focus for developing academic and research partnerships.