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Liverpool Universities key to Expo 2010 success

2010. 17 February

Laura Sharpe
( Merseyside's universities are getting ready to meet 70m visitors at this year’s Shanghai Expo.

Liverpool University, which already has the Xi'an Jiaotong University in Shanghai, is leading the knowledge sector of the Chinese Expo.

During the month of August, the university will join with John Moores, Hope, Edge Hill and Chester universities in a symposium to share academic research and promote Liverpool city region.

Each week will follow a different theme, from urban regeneration and architecture to the creation of new materials, maritime logistics and animal infection.

Among the highlights will be talks from some of the city’s leading architects and ex-alumni, who are now leading urban design out in Shanghai.

These include Jim Eyre, of Wilkinson Eyre, who designed the Liverpool Echo Arena to critical acclaim, and is helping to build China’s tallest building – a 432m tower in Guangzhou.

And Anthony Mackay, of Atkins, will also talk about the parallels between Shanghai and Liverpool after he created an award-winning planning scheme in the east coast Chinese metropolis.

Andre Brown, head of Liverpool University’s School of Architecture, said: “We’re the oldest school of architecture and planning, and have a strong heritage of urban design and are now looking to the future.

“There are parallels between Liverpool and Shanghai and between the UK and China in urban design.

“Liverpool and Shanghai have strong cultural heritages and both regenerated city's. The presence of Liverpool architects in China is growing and we have a number of graduates leading exciting projects in Shanghai.

“As Liverpool has regenerated and developed, Shanghai is doing the same, so there is a lot we can teach the Chinese and a lot we can learn.”

The symposium will also bring together some of the world’s leading material scientists to encourage the development of new materials such as non-polluting batteries and a material that slowly releases drugs over a number of days.

Liverpool and Shanghai’s shared maritime history will also be explored to look at the logistics of moving goods by sea and land.

Professor Kelvin Everest, director of academic affairs China, said: “There is the potential audience of 70m visitors, as 70% of the world’s population lives in that part of the world.

“It’s about sharing research and learning and teaching from the North-West and promoting the city region not only as a destination for students but visitors and business as well.”

The university collective will have a presence in the Liverpool Pavilion through a series of short films made by Wood Street’s River Media.

All visitors will watch a 10-minute 3-D video promoting Merseyside and its recent history and the North-West, before visiting the educational stands spread across two levels of the pavilion.

Mike Taylor, director of investment and enterprise at Liverpool Vision, said: “The region’s academic offering is integral. The North-West has a heritage of world-class research and innovation, and strong academic ties with China, and the universities’ involvement will serve to cement these relationships in the worlds of academia and commerce.”