The Lancaster University Belt and Road Initiative Research Consortium, known as LUBRIC, has been launched in the United Kingdom.

LUBRIC is the first Belt and Road research institute of its kind in the United Kingdom, and also the first Belt and Road-oriented academic organisation led by a UK-based Confucius Institute.

The consortium builds on Lancaster University’s position as one of the first British universities to engage in academic cooperation with China.

Professor Mark Smith, the vice-chancellor of Lancaster University, spoke about the links between China and the university.

“Today, the launch of the Lancaster University Belt and Road Initiative Research Consortium is one of those developments that means the relationship continues to get deeper and ever richer.

We know that this place into the overall national policy of China with its BRI as global development, and you can already see the profound effects that the initiative is having in generating new links of China across the world.

And the launch of LUBRIC puts us in a strong position to help understand legal research into the development of BRI.”

During the inauguration ceremony, Yang Xiaokun, a Counsellor at China’s Embassy in the UK, spoke about the role LUBRIC can play in future bilateral cooperation.

“First, LUBRIC could become a world-leading research base on the BRI. Secondly, LUBRIC should become a platform for China-UK cooperation. Third, LUBRIC could facilitate the development of the Confucius Institute.”

LUBRIC plans to establish a global interdisciplinary research hub that focuses on challenges emerging from the regions covered by the Belt and Road Initiative.

The research consortium has several unique advantages, as Zeng Jinghan, the head of the consortium, explains.

“We are trying to build an interdisciplinary team to make us an interdisciplinary hub for leading research focusing on BRI. We want to bring together academic experts, policy-makers, practitioners and government officials come together to generate knowledge and provide actionable solutions to deal with BRI.”

All of the members of the consortium have undertaken research relevant to the Belt and Road, and have taken part in or organised seminars about the initiative.

A three-day symposium, which will conclude on June 8, was held at the university to discuss issues associated with the Belt and Road Initiative.

Covering topics ranging from diplomacy and culture to environment and law, it was attended by more than 30 scholars from the UK, China, and elsewhere in the world.