A group of students from Shanghai’s Tongji University Talent Program came to meet us and explore future collaborations

Eleven of Tongji University’s best students from the School of Life Sciences and Technology travelled from Shanghai to Sydney to visit us and see what we do. The aim of the visit was to develop academic exchange between our organisations, and to explore possibilities for working together in the future.

Getting to know you

After the official welcome and introductions, the visitors sat down with our current crop of students. Over pizza they had the chance to find out what it’s like to do a PhD here.

students sit around a table eating pizza
Meeting our students

Their program of activities included a tour of the UNSW campus (where we’re situated) and of our laboratories, and scientific presentations by our research leaders.

The visiting students tour our laboratories
Touring our laboratories

The students were also paired up with ‘research buddies’ in the lab, who explained and demonstrated their work, giving them a taste of what it would be like to work here.

two students watch one of our researchers working in the lab
Joining research buddies in the lab
Joining research buddies in the lab

First impressions

Tongji student Pinghan Zhao has learnt a lot from his first trip to Sydney. What’s particularly impressed him (in addition to the Opera House and the beautiful blue sky) are the well-organised facilities, cutting-edge technology and teamwork in our labs.

Pinghan has also enjoyed getting to know some of our students.

“I really enjoyed chatting with the students and seeing what they do in the lab,” he said. “Finding out about their work and their lives, and introducing our work to them.”

What’s next?

Many of these talented students will go on to PhD studies abroad. Pinghan is considering applying to universities in either Australia or the US. On their final day the students sat down with our researchers whose work especially interested them, and discussed the possibility of doing a PhD with them in 2019 or 2020.

This is just the start of a long-term relationship between our two organisations. In May we’ll be returning the visit, with a group of our scientists, including Professor Glenn Marshall, Prof Richard Lock and  Dr Belamy Cheung heading over to Shanghai with our Head of Research Development and Partnerships, Peter Wejbora. There they’ll attend a cancer symposium at Tongji University and visit major hospitals.

What’s more, the visit to our labs by Tongji University’s brightest students will become an annual event. In the meantime this bunch are heading back to Shanghai to complete their undergraduate studies and consider the new possibilities opening up before them.

Take a virtual tour of our labs.

Top image: The visiting students hold their School’s banner in front of our building



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