A Communiqué on educational cooperation was issued by the Minister of Education of the People' s Republic of China, Zhou Ji and the former Minister of Education, University and Research of the Republic of Italy, Letizia Moratti in Beijing, China on July 4th, 2005. This cooperation was reconfirmed by the Minister Fabio Mussi and the Chinese Vice Minister of Education Zhao Qinping on September 18th, 2006, within the "Joint Italian-Chinese Campus".
Following these general agreements, the two sides decided to develop a joint project in institutions of higher education of the two countries. In particular, the Tongji University (Shanghai, China), and the University of Bologna, (Bologna, Italy) founded a double Bachelor Degree program in Automation Engineering (shortly Project AlmaTong ).
The final agreement on this international cooperation has been signed by the Rector of the University of Bologna, Prof. Pier Ugo Calzolari, and by the President of the Tongji University, Prof. Pei Gang, on November 13th, 2007. This agreement has been effective from academic year 2007/2008 until the academic year 2011/2012, and has been renewed in 2012 for another 4 year period.
Both Universities interested in continuing their collaboration with the signature of a new cooperation agreement for the award of a joint Master program in the field of Automation Engineering, in May 2012 signed the Agreement of Interuniversity Cooperation for the granting of a Master Program.
In the future both universities are planning to extend their collaboration to the PhD level
This joint program follows two similar initiatives (courses on Mechanical and Production Engineering, and on Information Technology Engineering) developed by the Politecnico of Milano and the Politecnico of Torino with the Tongji University, see for details http://tomito.polito.it/project.html.
The main objectives of the Bologna and Tongji Universities Double Degree Program in Automation Engineering are the following:
- Promote the common development in higher education of China and Italy;
- Joint training of internationalized talents, familiar with cultures of both countries;
- Enhance the level of scientific research and development;
- Push the cooperation in the fields of education and industry of the two countries.
These objectives are pursued allowing students participating to this initiative to obtain Double Title Degrees: "Laurea di primo livello in Ingegneria dell’Automazione" and/or "Laurea Magistrale in Ingegnaria dell’Automazione"from the University of Bologna, and BSc in "Automation Engineering" and/or "MSc in Control Theory and Control Engineering" from the Tongji University.
Grants and support for students
To apply, the interested students during the first year of study in Bologna (Master or Bachelor Program), must participate to a Call for the admission to the AlmaTong Program. A selection process will be then applied by a Commission nominated by the "Consiglio di Corso di Studi in Ingegneria dell’Automazione". The selection will be based on criteria such as: curriculum of the students, knowledge of the English language, personal motivations to follow the program. The AlmaTong program may be followed only by a limited number of students. These students will obtain a grant that will support them during the stay in Shanghai.