Having identified EIT as a leader in wine education, Qi Lu University of Technology has selected the institute to teach wine science to its students – both in China and in Hawke’s Bay.
Qi Lu University is situated in the heart of Shandong province, China’s premier wine growing region. The formal final partnership agreements between the university and EIT, earlier officially approved by the Chinese Ministry of Education, were signed at the end of July.
EIT’s School of Viticulture and Wine Science is now adopting a teaching role through the university’s Faculty of Bio-Technology.
The two institutions have been working in collaboration on the partnership over the last four years. Qi Lu students have studied the customised wine science programme developed with EIT since September 2015. The 2015 student cohort are progressing into the third year of the programme in September. This third year will be taught by EIT lecturers in China.
Reflecting its significance to both parties, the final signing ceremony was attended by EIT chief executive Chris Collins, Faculty of Commerce and Technology executive dean Fred Koenders and senior EIT academics and the university’s president Jiachuan Chen and Qi Lu senior staff.
Collins says the partnership, covering EIT wine education programme delivery into China, knowledge transfer and shared research projects and outcomes, is significant in underscoring Hawke’s Bay’s reputation as a premium wine producing region and recognising EIT as a leader in wine science and viticulture higher education.
“The wine science programme, which EIT will continue to teach and deliver within the university’s Faculty of Bio-Technology, is already over-subscribed.
“We were told of a few unhappy parents of students who did not gain selection for entry to the 2017 intake, and the university is already discussing other options EIT might have to help meet some of this demand.”
The agreement also provides an option for senior viticulture and wine science students to complete part of their degree – and perhaps later, postgraduate qualifications – at EIT, bringing more international students into the region.
This semester three EIT lecturers are to teach wine science and viticulture in a block style mode at Qi Lu University. Qi Lu co-teachers will help with the knowledge transfer.
EIT wine science lecturers Rod Chittenden and Shaun La Franco travelled last year to Qi Lu University, where they assisted with the design of a micro winery developed by the university to match its brewing and food research facilities.
Qilu University of Technology’s main campus is located on a 150ha site on the outskirts of the city of Jinan. By New Zealand standards it is a large university, with over 25,000 students. The university also has campuses in three other Chinese cities.
The partnership centres on a winemaking degree launched by the university as an expansion of its existing brewing engineering degree which is highly ranked in China.
“Among the reasons they have chosen us,” says Sue Ross, recently appointed head of EIT’s School of Viticulture and Wine Science, “is the quality and diversity of our programmes.”
EIT’s well-established connections with the wine industry also provide students with opportunities for gaining extensive hands-on industry experience working in wineries and vineyards in the area.
Ross believes that, given the high level of desire to make it work on both sides, the relationship between the university and EIT will continue to flourish.
“Both sides want to make this a big success and are prepared to go the extra distance to get there. We’re looking at a long-term relationship that will benefit both institutions.”