UW teams with ‘MIT of China’ on new tech program in Bellevue

The University of Washington and Tsinghua University will team up to open the Global Innovation Exchange in Bellevue. (Artists rendering provided by the University of Washington.)
The University of Washington and Tsinghua University of Beijing will team up to open the Global Innovation Exchange in Bellevue. (Rendering provided by the University of Washington.)

The University of Washington and a top Chinese research school Tsinghua University announced a partnership Thursday to open a technology program in Bellevue.

Tsinghua University, located in Beijing, is a leading university in Asia, and is sometimes called the “MIT of China,” according to The Seattle Times.

The technology program will be called the Global Innovation Exchange (or GIX) and other research universities from around the world can join the partnership in the future, according to the press release by the University of Washington. Companies can also join the partnership. Microsoft has already pledged $40 million in foundational support.

The first class of 30-35 students will start in 2016 with an inaugural master’s degree in technology innovation, and the university expects 3,000 to be enrolled by 2025. Over time, the universities plan to add other areas of study, according to the UW.

The first group of students are expected to be a mixture of students from China and the United States, and instruction will be in English, according to The Seattle Times.

The students will encouraged to be creative and innovative—to learn from failure, said Yang Bin, Tsinghua vice president and provost, in a prepared statement.

“In China, people like to follow tradition and obey rules. They don’t want to fail and lose face. But when they come here and mingle with the other students, we hope that they become liberated to find the freedom to dare to try, and the freedom to dare to fail,” he said.

University of Washington interim president Ana Mari Cauce said in a prepared statement the program will be good for the students from the United States, who want to make a global impact.

“We will bring in the very best international talent to work with our local talent. It’s good for all of us. We should be working in partnership to help make sure this is a destination for those kids who are going to change the world,” she said in a prepared statement.

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