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University of East London and Tongji University, College of Design and Innovation, announce student partnership

Students will fly to China for hackathon next spring

Students from the University of East London will fly to China for two weeks next spring to work on a ground-breaking hackathon with the university’s world leading partner Tongji University, College of Design and Innovation.

The 20 students, from a mix of disciplines, will collaborate with the same number of students from the Tongji University’s College of Design and Innovation to answer questions around achieving carbon neutrality by 2028.

The hackathon, which will last two full weeks, is due to take place in mid-April 2020 and will include visits to sustainable design and innovation projects and sightseeing around the host city.

The initiative was unveiled by Dr Paul Marshall, the University’s pro-vice chancellor, careers and enterprise, and Professor Lou Yongqi, Dean of the College of Design and Innovation, during a visit to the College organised as part of the UUK International-British Council Creative Industries Delegation to China.

Dr Marshall said, “I’m delighted to announce that Professor Lou has agreed that, to mark the next stage in the development of our partnership, we should jointly hold a significant event in the spring next year at the Yangpu riverside development.

“The hackathon will be attended by 20 University of East London students working together with 20 students from the College. It will conclude with a major event to be attended by senior figures from both universities as well as business representatives and local officials.

“The hackathon will be a transformative experience for the students as well as a major opportunity to highlight the potential of both institutions working together to solve global problems. It will hopefully become an annual event and form the springboard for the other activities under development with the College.”

Tongji University was established in 1907 and is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in China, renowned for its engineering, business, architecture and design programmes. Tongji University College of Design and Innovation is the leading college of design in Asia (Ranked No.1 in Asia and No.14 globally by QS 2019). The College of Design and Innovation grew out of the art, design and architecture departments in 2009 and is “committed to the mission of cultivating sustainable designing and innovating”. It has around 700 full-time students. 

The hackathon challenge was set jointly by the University of East London’s vice-chancellor and president, Professor Amanda Broderick, and Professor Lou Yongqi, Dean of the College of Design and Innovation. The brief urges students to focus on three areas:

  • Next Energy: minimising energy use and carbon emissions, generating new sources of renewable energy etc.
  • Next Business: Commercialising renewable energy and making carbon credits accessible and universal.
  • Next City: New city development enable implementing and incubating sustainable solutions.

The project will be in the contexts of connecting Royal Albert Dock and YangPu Riverside to strengthen China-UK innovation collaboration. The students will develop solutions, work through prototypes and apply them to YangPu Riverside. The students will pitch their finished ideas to a VIP audience.