MCI Director facilitates UoM’s successful British Council award to support UK-China collaborations in the Humanities


The Manchester China Institute (MCI) Director, Prof. Peter Gries, has contributed to a successful bid for a British Council grant designed to strengthen UK-China institutional partnerships through academic collaboration. MCI partnered with the Universities of Exeter and Reading, and Kings College London, all members of the UK-China Humanities Alliance for Higher Education (UKCHA), in securing a total of £132,085.

As we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, the grant will fund a programme which aims to re-connect UK academics in the humanities with students and scholars in China, supporting the re-establishment of existing links and new collaborations. The funding will facilitate the work of a new generation of scholars through collaborative research and networking opportunities, encouraging UK-China higher education cooperation.

Many Chinese students and scholars receive Chinese grants for travel and subsistence but are not allowed to use them for desk (or ‘bench’) fees that are routinely charged by UK universities to meet the actual costs of hosting academic visitors. A relatively modest sum averaging £2.5K per person would bridge this gap and leverage off other funding so that mobility and academic exchange can take place. Visiting Chinese students and scholars would be hosted in their home Humanities departments, and would also be offered a “hot desk” within MCI’s Scholars in Residence program, should they wish to interact with Chinese speaking colleagues as well.

“I’m thrilled that Manchester was part of a winning bid for the British Council grant,” said Director Gries. “Given the recent deterioration of UK-China relations, jump-starting academic collaborations is both important and timely.”

The two-year programme will commence January 2022.