A funding venture designed to forge sustainable, innovative and multilateral partnerships between educational institutions and industry in the UK, China and, primarily, ASEAN countries. 

Projects funded under the Initiative must deliver significant benefit for the countries’ higher education sectors, their researchers, academics and students.

The Initiative is a step change in the scale and scope of UK China international education collaboration. 

Programme funding decisions are made by a Project Board comprising:

  • British Council China
  • The Ministry of Education China
  • Higher education sector and community representatives from UK and China.


The UK China ASEAN Partnership Initiative aims to elevate the number and quality of innovative partnerships and boost the impact of international higher education.

Universities in the UK and China will advance their internationalisation strategies by working on joint education and research projects with a mix of countries.

The programme expands the UK and China’s educational engagement with the ASEAN countries, adding impetus to both countries’ aspirations and to their contributions to the global knowledge economy. It will do this by: 

  • promoting cutting edge joint research
  • nurturing teaching excellence
  • increasing graduate employability
  • training future leaders in the field.

The initiative will strengthen the UK’s reputation for outstanding education and research collaboration, widen access to student mobility and recruitment opportunities and provide a route to valuable industry and business connections. 

Priority disciplines

The Initiative will also support projects including:

  • Advanced manufacturing
  • Health care
  • Food safety
  • Renewable energy
  • Creative industry

Project activities may include:

  • joint research
  • publications
  • joint curriculum development
  • workshops and meetings (physical and virtual)
  • student, Early Career Researcher and staff exchanges
  • leadership and professional development training
  • enabling transnational education (TNE) cooperation.

Highlights and progress

In 2018, six UK institutions were awarded funding to work with 22 universities from China and other countries across advanced manufacturing, healthcare, police education, food safety, renewable energy and global leadership transformation.

In 2019, five UK universities were awarded funding to work with 25 universities from China and other countries in manufacturing supply chain systems, upskilling, and many others.

In 2020, six UK universities were awarded funding to work with around 20 universities from China, Vietnam and Indonesia to improve the quality of student experience through digital learning.