Press release

MillionPlus Chair honoured with China’s Friendship Award

29 Sep 2016

Professor David Phoenix, Chair of MillionPlus, the Association for Modern Universities, and Vice-Chancellor of London South Bank University has been honoured with China’s Friendship Award, the nation’s highest honour for achievement by a non-Chinese citizen with only 50 awards available globally each year.

The Friendship Award is awarded to foreign experts who are recognised by the Chinese government as having made an outstanding contribution to the country's economic and social progress.

A visiting professor at Sichuan University and a biochemist with over 250 papers to his name, Professor Phoenix has been recognised for his contribution to Chinese science, enterprise and higher education. The presentation of the award on 29 September was hosted by the Premier of China, Li Keqiang.

Professor Phoenix said:

“I am deeply honoured to be presented with this award which has been made possible as a result of the outstanding support of the teams in China and the UK with whom I have worked for 15 years.

“China is a significant partner for the UK in terms of both business and education. Having worked with a range of organisations and set up a research and innovation centre in China, I am more convinced than ever of the importance of global partnerships. Research projects run jointly with international partners often generate outputs with much greater impact but there is also real value and mutual benefits from international student exchange and collaborations that support enterprise.

“Students from London South Bank University who have participated in study tours to China confirm that the opportunity to study there has brought new insights and knowledge which have helped them to succeed as graduates in a globally competitive and connected world.

“I look forward to continuing to work with colleagues and partner institutions in China in the future.”

As part of the award ceremony Professor Phoenix gave a speech highlighting the power of international partnerships and advocating the importance of modern universities in supporting translational research to the benefit of society.


Notes to editors

  1. MillionPlus is the Association for Modern Universities. More information can be found at
  2. Modern universities: key facts
  3. For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact Dan Blows on 020 7717 1658 or email