UNNC wins European Chamber 8th Corporate Social Responsibility Award

03 December 2021

2 December: The University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC) was awarded the Excellence in Environment Conservation-Regional Award of the 8th Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Award by the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, for its outstanding contribution and achievement in preservation and promotion of cultural heritage. The International Entrepreneurial Project of UNNC was also nominated for the Excellence in Social Innovation Award.

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In the area of preservation of cultural heritage, UNNC has made various explorations adopting advanced technologies in the area and has obtained profound breakthroughs. It has leveraged its world-leading technical and academic expertise to formulate international standards for the protection of cultural heritage, as well as making both global and local impacts through contributions to preserve and promote local cultures.

The NVIDIA Joint-Lab on Mixed Reality of UNNC, for instance, has been committed to introducing digitalisation into the field of cultural heritage to reproduce world-renowned heritage sites and cultural relics. Directed by Professor Eugene Ch’ng, who has been at the forefront of the field of digitalisation of cultural heritage for over 15 years, the Joint-Lab has been developing Virtual Reality projects in the areas of architecture, archaeology and cultural heritage, such as reproducing the site of Sanjiangkou port of Ningbo in Yuan Dynasty.

The Centre of Ningbo Studies, led by Dr Thomas Hirzel, Dr Jing Xie and Professor David Towey, centres on the use of Photogrammetry and Digital Capture to preserve and database cultural artefacts and architecture, as well as to build bridges between communities of enthusiasts and scholars and promote Ningbo’s rich cultural heritage both within China and abroad. The Centre is currently providing technical workshops and consultancy for staff in the Ningbo Museum on Photogrammetry and Digital Capture so as to archive Ningbo’s priceless collection of celadon.

In addition, UNNC has also established cooperation with Ningbo Bang Museum since 2019 to develop humanistic quality education, community services and social practices, with the support and coordination of Dr K. Cohen Tan, Interim Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning. UNNC students of International Communications have the opportunity to do internship practice at Ningbo Bang Museum via the module “Transmedia Narratives and Digital Literacy”, developed by Dr Filippo Gilardi, Head of School of International Communications. The end of the module assessment is to develop interactive workshops and social media campaigns related to the Museum’s exhibits. The playful creativity of these students, described in the innovation section below, has brought the museum content alive for younger generations of Ningbonese.

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Dr. K. Cohen Tan, Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning, delivering a speech at the ceremony

"Our strategic goal is 'Solving Problems and Improving Lives'. We do so by serving our local community and engaging positively with key stakeholders through research and teaching activities," said Dr Tan. "We believe that research should be focused on solving real world problems, and these problems are rarely, if ever, simple or unitary. By breathing new life into those stories and memories, we help the next generation of local Ningbonese rediscover their unique heritage and identity."

“Any need for conservation requires an awareness that extends beyond objects, monuments, sites or intangible culture, and also includes the environments that have preserved and sustained our heritage to this day,” Professor Ch’ng emphasised in his speech during the awarding ceremony. “Any heritage conservation in the 21st century must include social innovation, and heritage is a viable social innovation arena. Heritage does not belong to experts - but to citizens.”

The International Entrepreneurial Project (IEP) module nominated this time also won much attention due to it mapping a multidimensional, professional, and tailored-made CSR developing paradigm to build and strengthen students’ understanding of CSR theories and insights.

The module discusses CSR-related topics, aiming to equip students with CSR knowledge and skills. Through collaborations with external companies such as Huawei, Whale Cloud and UN Women, it examines real CSR cases to explore how and why businesses have chosen to adopt sustainable approaches. The IEP module also facilitates students in participating in various competitions like L’Oréal Brandstorm Competition, Unilever Marketing Competition, P&G Case Competition, and Ingenuity Entrepreneurship Competitions to apply CSR concepts into the governance of business.

The CSR Awards of the European Union Chamber aim to acknowledge CSR successes, raise sustainability awareness, and share the CSR experiences with organisations looking to promote and exercise corporate responsibility in China.

Winning the 8th CSR award fully recognises UNNC’s contribution in shouldering social responsibility. Standing on its pioneering tradition as the first Sino-foreign university, UNNC will continue to practice its own social responsibilities, reinvent the ways of learning and thinking and lead the community in social engagement.