Former President of Qingdao Agricultural University made Honorary Fellow of the Royal Agricultural University

26 April 2024

Almost four years after the Royal Agricultural University (RAU) opened its Joint Institute for Advanced Agri-technology at Qingdao Agricultural University (QAU) in China, the Cirencester-based university has honoured former QAU President Professor Xinmin Liu with an Honorary Fellowship.


Former QAU President Professor Xinmin Liu
Former QAU President Professor Xinmin Liu and Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter McCaffery

RAU Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter McCaffery bestowed the Honorary Fellowship to Professor Liu in a special ceremony held to during a two-day visit to the RAU of a delegation of senior staff from QAU.

Delivering the citation for the conferment of Professor Liu for his Honorary Fellowship, Professor McCaffery said: “Climate change, food security, sustainable land use, and biodiversity loss are global challenges that require international collaboration if we are to resolve them.

“The RAU and QAU share a global outlook. We both recognise that improving agricultural productivity while maintaining soil health and protecting rural economies are worldwide challenges that are best tackled by shared learning with other nations. 

“We are delighted to confer an Honorary Fellowship on Professor Xinmin Liu. He is not only a trailblazer for sustainable agriculture but is also the architect of our acclaimed Joint Institute for Advanced Agri-technology.

“We currently have more than 1,000 students at the Joint Institute and are now working to establish the UK-China Rural Revitalisation Joint Research Institute as a means of developing sustainable solutions to food production and building resilience in rural communities world-wide.”

Receiving his Honorary Fellowship, Professor Liu said: “This is not just a great honour for me but a gesture of praise and encouragement to both QAU and RAU’s teams and, more importantly, it urges us on to deepen our bilateral cooperation in the future.

“Agriculture is key to human beings’ subsistence, nutrition, and health - it is the bedrock for the development and progress of the whole society. The development of agriculture will contribute to the stability of the society.

“Agricultural universities shoulder significant responsibilities for cultivating specialised talents to promote agricultural development, push forward the scientific innovation and technological progress in agricultural fields, and to facilitate global collaborations to build a community with a shared future.”

The RAU Joint Institute for Advanced Agri-technology at QAU opened in September 2020 - the same year that the RAU celebrated its 175th anniversary - following a competitive process during which the RAU/QAU institute was one of only 11 that were selected by the Chinese Ministry of Education to be established.

The partnership offers double-award degrees across four BSc (Hons) programmes; Agriculture; Environment, Food and Society; International Business Management; and Food Production and Supply Management. The degrees are delivered at the QAU campus with students being taught in English by both RAU and QAU academics.

The RAU is the only small specialist university in the UK to have established a Joint Institute with endorsement from the Chinese Government and is one of only five ‘highly trusted’ UK universities recognised by the Chinese Ministry of Education.

Professor Liu also told the audience that, of those students graduating from the Joint Institute this year, 65 have received offers from QS Top 200 universities, among whom 20 have offers from QS Top 20 universities including the National University of Singapore, the University of Melbourne, the University of Sydney, and the University of Edinburgh.

In addition, 61 students have applied for RAU postgraduate programmes, 58 have received offers from Chinese universities, and 11 have received job offers from large companies.

Professor Liu said: “Looking ahead to the future, I’m sure that RAU and QAU will develop our collaboration to a higher, broader, and deeper level.

“Through mutual communication, integration, and sharing, our two universities will learn from each other’s advantages, share and exchange what is advantageous to constantly boost the international competitiveness in talent training, and enhance the innovation capacity in scientific research and education further promoting the global collaborations between agricultural universities.”

Professor McCaffery concluded: “An Honorary Fellowship is the highest honour that our University can confer and it is reserved for those who have made the most distinguished contribution to the life of the RAU, to education and to the land based-industries at home and abroad. 

“Professor Liu is a role model and inspiration to us all. Without his fine leadership and support, and his dedicated team, the Joint Institute would never have been established and we could not have developed such a strong international presence, nor developed close and long-lasting partnerships in China.”