The vice chancellor of University of Cumbria has returned from a mission to strengthen ties with Chinese institutions.

Vice chancellor Professor Julie Mennell led a team from Cumbria visiting four Chinese universities earlier this month, focusing on strengthening existing partnerships the university has with China.

One of the universities they visited was Zhejiang Agriculture and Forestry University, known for its strengths in forestry, agriculture, environment and business.

The institution specialises in ecology, bamboo processing, tea culture, and landscape design.

Prof Mennell discussed areas of common ground including forestry, the environment and joint research linked to national parks and protected areas and the visitor economy.

She said: “Student exchanges and joint research interests are key areas of common interest and will bring many benefits to staff and students across each university.”

Prof Menell also visited Jiaxing University, an existing partner of the University of Cumbria.

Its disciplines cover economics, management, engineering, science, liberal arts, medicine, law and education.

During the visit, further talks took place to consider degrees, particularly in health-related areas, and the development of joint academic and research platforms along with academic exchanges.

Prof Mennell said: “This kind of visit develops further our international collaboration as we look to explore new areas, where the unique skills, location and ties we have in Cumbria can benefit our partners across the globe, alongside benefitting our university and Cumbria.”

The visit was the latest in a series of links established between China and Cumbria.

Students from China are already studying at University’s Business School while last month an arts delegation visited the Brampton Road campus.