EIT chief executive Chris Collins and Qi Lu University of Technology president Jiachuan Chen signing the agreement in China.

Qi Lu University is in the heart of Shandong province, China’s premier wine growing region.

The formal final partnership agreements between the university and EIT, officially approved by the Chinese Ministry of Education, were signed at the end of July.

EIT’s School of Viticulture and Wine Science is now adopting a teaching role through the university’s Faculty of Bio-Technology.

The two institutions have been working in collaboration on the partnership over the past four years. Qi Lu students have studied the customised wine science programme developed with EIT since September 2015.

The 2015 student cohort is progressing into the third year of the programme in September. This third year will be taught by EIT lecturers in China.

The final signing ceremony was attended by EIT chief executive Chris Collins, Faculty of Commerce and Technology executive dean Fred Koenders and senior EIT academics, and the university’s president Jiachuan Chen and Qi Lu senior staff.

Collins says the partnership, covering EIT wine education programme delivery into China, knowledge transfer and shared research projects and outcomes, is significant in underscoring Hawke’s Bay’s reputation as a premium wine producing region and recognising EIT as a leader in wine science and viticulture higher education.

“The wine science programme, which EIT will continue to teach and deliver within the university’s Faculty of Bio-Technology, is already over-subscribed.

“We were told of a few unhappy parents of students who did not gain selection for entry to the 2017 intake and the university is already discussing other options EIT might have to help meet some of this demand.”

The agreement also provides an option for senior viticulture and wine science students to complete part of their degree at EIT, bringing more international students into the region.

This semester three EIT lecturers will teach wine science and viticulture in a block style mode at Qi Lu University. Qi Lu co-teachers will help with the knowledge transfer.

EIT wine science lecturers Rod Chittenden and Shaun La Franco travelled to Qi Lu University last year, where they assisted with the design of a micro winery developed by the university to match its brewing and food research facilities.

Qi Lu University of Technology’s main campus is located on a 150ha site on the outskirts of the city of Jinan. By New Zealand standards it is a large university, with more than 25,000 students. The university also has campuses in three other Chinese cities.

The partnership centres on a winemaking degree launched by the university as an expansion of its existing brewing engineering degree which is highly ranked in China.

“Among the reasons they have chosen us is the quality and diversity of our programmes,”
said Sue Ross, recently appointed head of EIT’s School of Viticulture and Wine Science.

EIT’s well-established connections with the wine industry also provide students with opportunities for gaining extensive hands-on industry experience working in wineries and vineyards in the area.

Ross believes that, given the high level of desire to make it work on both sides, the relationship between the university and EIT will continue to flourish.

“Both sides want to make this a big success and are prepared to go the extra distance to get there. We’re looking at a long-term relationship that will benefit both institutions.”

Source: Hawkes Bay Today

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