(AP)—A southwest Ohio university's new center in China will allow students and staff to collaborate with businesses on research and developing new products and technologies, university officials say.
The University of Dayton's China Institute opened recently in a fast-growing corporate region about 75 miles from Shanghai, according to officials with the Ohio school.
Former Ohio Gov. Bob Taft and University of Dayton president Daniel Curran were among the American officials who attended the grand opening of the institute in August in Suzhou Industrial Park. Chinese officials at the ceremony included Pan Yi, vice president of Nanjing University, and Wang Hongsheng, vice mayor of Suzhou municipal government.
Taft, who presented a congratulatory proclamation from Ohio Gov. John Kasich to Curran, said the institute provides an opportunity "to enhance the scientific, commercial and artistic ties between China and the state of Ohio."
University officials say the industrial park in Jiangsu Province in eastern China is home to a third of the world's Fortune 500 companies. It is a cooperative venture between the governments of China and Singapore.
Suzhou Industrial Park officials made a multimillion-dollar investment in the renovation of a five-story, 68,000-square-foot building for classrooms, laboratories and project space for the institute, according to the university. Park officials want the university's students to do applied research and product development and also are interested in education and training.
Curran has said that the university was a natural choice for the park because of its track record in the commercialization of technology and in building research teams in emerging technologies.
"There's an innovative, entrepreneurial spirit in Suzhou Industrial Park that's unlike any in the world," he said.
The institute also is expected to provide co-op and internship opportunities for University of Dayton students in China and a pipeline for recruiting Chinese students, the university said.
"We're simulating the world for our students," said Tony Saliba, dean of UD's School of Engineering. "In the real world, sometimes you have to deal with a 12-hour time difference with clients, and sometimes you have to visit the site."
University officials estimate 2,000 students and professionals working at companies in China will be involved in the institute's work each year.
The institute features eight specialized science and engineering laboratories where faculty and students will be able to do applied research and product development for corporate partners in the park.
"It's all very state-of-the-art," said Jonathan Shyu, program manager for the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai.
Some of the companies partnering with the institute include GE Aviation China, Lilly Suzhou Pharmaceutical Co. and SAS Automation.
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More information: University of Dayton: www.udayton.edu/