President of South East Technological University (SETU), Professor Veronica Campbell, recently visited SETU’s partners in China. The president and her team were joined by Ambassador of Ireland to China, Ann Derwin, and her team from the Embassy of Ireland, the Consulate of Ireland in Shanghai, Education in Ireland, and Enterprise Ireland.

The visitors were hosted by government and university officials at SETU partner institutions: Henan University of Animal Husbandry and Economy (HUAHE) and its joint institute Carlow International College of Technology (CICT); Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology (NUIST) and its joint Waterford Institute; and Jilin Normal University (JLNU).

SETU’s visit to its partner institutes in China holds special meaning for the university as the first of its kind since the Covid-19 pandemic and an opportunity for the team at SETU and partner organisations to develop impactful plans that include continued development of academic programmes, research initiatives, and developing a student experience that prepares graduates for industry both in Ireland and China.

Speaking about the visit, Prof. Veronica Campbell, commented, “I am delighted to have had the opportunity to visit China this past week with my SETU colleagues and Ambassador Derwin and team. We were given an enormously warm welcome from our partners at HUAHE/CICT, NUIST/Waterford Institute, and JLNU. I am spurred on by the strength of our partnership on display in the excellent showcases of student success and wonderful campus facilities. Seeing first-hand the positive effect of the quality of the programmes we’ve developed, the student experience on offer, and the ongoing work to provide educational opportunity that allows students to become innovative professionals and leaders in their disciplines was enlivening. I’m also delighted that we can continue to welcome many Chinese students to our campuses in Ireland every year, and we encourage them to take advantage of opportunities in Europe’s fastest growing economy or equally, to return home to add their talent to the innovative and dynamic Chinese economy. Sincere thanks to our partners, and to the SETU team who have nurtured these partnerships over the past number of years. I look forward to developing and expanding these into the future.”

Ambassador of Ireland to the People’s Republic of China, Ann Derwin, commented, “It has been a pleasure to join Prof. Campbell and SETU representatives for a visit to these centres of excellence, that continue to thrive in partnership with one of Ireland’s most innovative institutions. The partnerships at HUAHE, NUIST, and JNLU were only possible due to the effort and determination of the leadership, administration, staff, and faculty members across these organisations. I am delighted that Ireland and China continue to develop educational exchange, increasing the number of students obtaining dual degrees, helping to develop a highly skilled and sought after pool of international graduates. It was an honour for me to take part in this special visit and I commend the immense work undertaken by all involved.”

On 18 October, the delegation was welcomed to Henan University of Animal Husbandry and Economy (HUAHE) by Chairman Mu Ruijie. SETU’s partnership with HUAHE is almost two decades old, and its new Joint Institute with HUAHE in China is now entering its second year of student enrolments. The president’s visit coincided with a significant milestone for the collaboration with the launch of the first dedicated building for the joint college, Carlow International College of Technology (CICT). Senior officials from the Office of Foreign Affairs of the Henan Provincial Peoples Government, including Deputy Director Li Bing, officiated at the ground-breaking and stone-laying ceremony. The visiting Irish party also participated in celebrations of the joint institute, enjoying contributions from students and those involved in the delivery of its programmes leading to Bachelor of Science (honours) awards in courses such as brewing and distilling, sustainable farm management, agribusiness, and software development. The new joint college, with a capacity for 1,120 students, will ensure further success with a particular focus on the exchange of ideas and new initiatives in the areas of food, farming, and computing. 

On 19 October, Prof. Campbell and SETU representatives were hosted by President Li Beiqun at Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology (NUIST). SETU's partnership with NUIST is also almost two decades old and the recently established Joint Institute in China with NUIST, NUIST Waterford, delivers programmes leading to Bachelor of Science (Honours), Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) and Master of Engineering in the discipline areas of applied computing, software engineering, information engineering, electrical and automation engineering. With a capacity for 810 students, discussions are currently underway to broaden the collaboration across research, technology transfer and industry engagement. The visit entailed a tour of the impressive new facilities provided by NUIST to support and further develop the work of the Joint Institute, and the Irish contingent met with students, key personnel, and SETU academic staff. The visiting Irish party took part in celebrations of the joint institute, promotion of study abroad in Ireland, and visited an exhibition showcasing the history of the NUIST Waterford collaboration which dates to 2006.

The Irish contingent also visited another important SETU collaborative partner in China on the 16 October, receiving the warmest of welcomes from President Yang Xiaotian at Jilin Normal University (JLNU) and his senior team. This institutional partnership is anchored in SETU’s design programmes and its Wexford Campus. The collaboration is now in the fifth year of joint programme delivery in China and the visiting party were delighted to meet the 300 students enrolled on the programme and view the impressive exhibition of their work. SETU is a sectoral leader in design education that continues to expand its provision across a range of courses in industrial and product design, TV and media production, architecture, computer games, art, and the joint degree programme in visual communications and design with JLNU. This reflects the position of Ireland as a country known worldwide for its creativity and for its impact on creative arts globally.

Part of SETU’s aims for the future, as outlined in its strategic plan, ‘Connecting for Impact – 2023-2028’ is to create connection across its campuses, across communities, and with its global partners. This connection generates a higher education experience that combines excellence in academia, robust research activity, and real-life work experience for students who will become well-rounded graduates informed in the latest industry practices, and who are ready for employment in Ireland, and globally. Prof. Campbell’s visit alongside Ambassador Derwin demonstrates the commitment to expand SETU’s impact at international level in the provision of increased access to higher education.

For more information on SETU’s global partnerships, visit