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Building international links: the China Scholarship Council Special Interest Group

The Doctoral Academy strives to make valuable links both nationally and internationally, and we recently welcomed a group of Senior Managers from Chinese universities, representing the China Scholarship Council Special Interest Group. The China Scholarship Council (CSC) is a non-profit organisation that provides financial aid for Chinese citizens to study abroad, and for international students to study in China.

Delegates had the opportunity to visit the Doctoral Academy, tour the facilities and meet the team, who then gave short talks explaining the key projects we are working on to achieve our vision. A number of postgraduate research students funded by the CSC International Scholarship Fund also gave short talks about their research and the workshops they have attended at the Doctoral Academy. The talks were followed by refreshments, discussions and an opportunity to exchange ideas.

Tao Shuo, Associate Dean of International Institute at Dongbei University of Finance and Economics, had this to say of the event:

“It was really a great experience visiting the Doctoral Academy. I am very much impressed by the efforts and activities the DA has committed to build the community spirit among all the PhD candidates at Cardiff University. The courses run by the DA are meaningful for the new PhD students and early researchers, and it helps a lot to create connections and build community.”

Here, two of the PhD students involved in the event tell us why being part of the Special Interest Group was so valuable to them…

“As a PhD student supported by China Scholarship Council and Cardiff University, I was honoured to take part in this Special Interest Group and give people a presentation. It was exciting to meet delegates from different universities across China and talking with them was an awesome experience. I was very happy to show them what my PhD project is about and how I get training from the Doctoral Academy. The delegates were very interested in my rocks and field work even though they are not geologists.

My presentation focused on one workshop – Time Management – that I have attended, and I shared with them how I benefited from it. This workshop taught me how to manage time, which is essential for PhD students who have so much work to do and usually feel they have a lack of time. The training from the Doctoral Academy was very helpful not only to my PhD project but also to my future career.

The delegates asked many questions about how the Doctoral Academy runs and how the workshops are given, and the staff from the Doctoral Academy answered these queries. The delegates could therefore borrow some of this experience, and apply it at universities in China.

From conversations with the delegates, I now know the current employment situation and the requirements to work in universities in China, and the delegates gave me some advice for my future career which was really useful. Taking part in this Special Interest Group was such a great experience and I believe everyone benefited from it.”

Jian Wang, School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, Supported by CSC and Cardiff University


“Being part of the Special Interest Group provided me with a good platform to spread research ideas and practise presentation skills. My presentation was limited to 12 minutes, which is a big challenge for me. Inevitably I will need to do this kind of presentation to the public one day, so it was a great chance to practise using my skills to gain more experience.

It was a great honour to meet several professors and administrators from different Chinese universities. I was also able to understand the difference between PhD studies in China and Cardiff and to have a general understanding of doctoral employment in China, while gaining some useful advice.

Thanks to this event, I got out of my office, had a chance to refresh and I made several friends. I had a happy few hours and excellent cooperation with those lovely people from the Doctoral Academy. To be honest, I benefited a lot from the helpful workshops the Doctoral Academy arranges, but I never got a chance to show my appreciation to them before. This activity provided me with a chance to do so.  The Doctoral Academy team, with around 12 members of staff, support thousands of workshops for students and address problems during our studying period. I appreciate this a lot. Besides this, the scones surprised me – they were so delicious. They could be one of the motivations for me to attend such kind of activities again in the near future!

My presentation was divided into two parts. One was the introduction of my topic and another was the benefits from Doctoral Academy workshops. My PhD topic is ‘Optimisation of Tidal Range Schemes’, where I introduced what tidal power is and how it works. In detail, the water heads are different inside and outside a lagoon, as such coastal engineering projects are able to be used to generate electricity, known as renewable energy. Through videos of the water level and velocity distribution near-field and far-field around a case study, the hydro-environmental impacts were highlighted. The purpose of this study was also mentioned, which is to maximise the energy generation and minimise the impact to bacteria and fish, etc.

A series of workshops I attended were illustrated as well. Exploring the different categories of workshops (for instance ‘Knowledge & Intellectual Abilities’ and ‘Engagement Influence & Impact’), I gave two examples under each, describing a few interesting experiences and the knowledge I had gained. This is significant because it provided me with skills and knowledge, which can be a power tool for both studying and working.”

Jingjing Xue, Hydro-environmental Research Centre, Cardiff University.

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