“My main motivation in applying to these International Exchange funds was to make my way into the Chinese academic community in my discipline so that our group would gain visibility in front of graduate Chinese students. Chinese graduate students can be very talented and hardworking when carefully chosen and they represent a student population that has grown incredibly over the last 10 years.
A second objective was to develop contacts that would be good prescriptors of my group as a destination of postdoc visits or PhD studies, who came recommended and were reliable candidates. The exchange allowed me to do this and also teach and research to several PhD students and postdocs in Beijing, Wenzhou, Ningbo, Nanjing, Shanghai and Suzhou. This activity led to several research papers in international journals, an exchange of expertise on methods, and the involvement on several advisory boards in Chinese institutions.
With newly developed connections at Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT), we landed an Excellence Centre grant (Project 111) securing my continuing collaboration with BIT beyond the exchange. To this end, it was crucial the flexibility to use the funds of the Royal Society to network more widely than the original exchange institution.”