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14 August 2012
University of Nottingham agrees £1 million research collaboration with Chinese car giant

The University of Nottingham has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with FAW, one of China’s biggest vehicle manufacturers, to undertake research into low carbon technologies. 

The research project, which is potentially worth up to £1 million over three years to the University, will investigate the development of a number of technologies, including thermal management and heat transfer for low carbon vehicles. This is a vitally important aspect in the development of hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) and pure electric vehicles (EV), which rely on electric and electronic components that normally only operate effectively at certain temperatures.  

Founded in 1953, FAW is a significant player in the Asian motor industry. It employs 118,000 people, sells over three million vehicles per annum to over 70 countries, and the assets of the business are valued at over £18 billion. Representing FAW at the signing of the MoU was Dr Li Jun, President of the R&D Centre of FAW Group Corporation. Dr Li also received an honorary professorship from the University, to mark his contribution to the motor industry. 

Respected worldwide for his research work, Dr Li Jun is President of the International Federation of Automotive Engineering Societies (FISITA), a position he will hold for the next two years. Following the signing of the MoU, Dr Li was met by Professor Yang Fujia, Chancellor of the University, who awarded him an Honorary Professorship in recognition of his innovative research and development work in China’s motor vehicle industry. 

Dr Li said: “I would like to express my gratitude to The University of Nottingham for the personal recognition of my achievements in research. As an engineer, I devoted 20 years of my career to technical innovations in the areas of engine design, combustion, engine durability control and engine electronic control. During that time, my focus was to make our engines more powerful and more durable, pushing each to its limits.  

“However, we all need to re-consider the role of the motor industry in today’s world, where we face major problems such as the depletion of fossil fuels, global warming and road safety issues. We have to recognise the technical development limits that are set by our environment, and we need to build the automobile into a machine that can improve the quality of our lives. That is why I want to bring the most outstanding researchers from our two organisations together to develop technologies which will work in harmony with our planet.” 

Professor Chris Rudd, Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University, who signed the MoU on behalf of the University, added: “Dr Li has made a huge contribution in enabling China to become a major force in the automotive industry. He was responsible for diesel engine development for hugely successful Jie Fang trucks. Dr Li also drove the development of petrol engines for the prestigious Hongqi car range, and did much to provide FAW with the confidence to build its own brand products.  I’m delighted that he is being honoured by The University of Nottingham for his great achievements. 

“Looking forward, the collaboration with FAW on low carbon technologies is tremendously exciting and I am very pleased that they are choosing to work with our University as their first overseas strategic partner. It is a testament to the quality and reputation of our research work, and further strengthens our close links with Asian industry.”  

The research laboratory for FAW will be based in the Faculty of Engineering at University Park in Nottingham, and the Project Leader is Professor Yuying Yan. The research work will commence later this year. 

Through its campus in Ningbo and the work of its Asia Business Centre, The University of Nottingham has developed links with a number of Chinese businesses in sectors including aerospace, rail, automotive, food and drink, marine technologies and many other industries. 

For more information about The University of Nottingham’s work with businesses and the Asia Business Centre, visit

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