The University of Groningen (UG) has permanently closed the project aimed at creating a branch campus in Yantai. Discussions were held with China Agricultural University, the city of Yantai and the Province of Shandong. In addition, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science has sent a letter to the Chinese Ministry of Education explaining that the project cannot be continued because it lacks a statutory basis.
The investigation into the hours worked and the origin of the private funds has also been completed. At the end of February, based on the investigation by Ecorys, the UG reported that it would offer maximum compensation for the hours spent on Yantai, which amounted to € 669,000. The Inspectorate of Education has now also concluded the investigation report into the financing of the project. The report was published on Monday 8 July. The Inspectorate concludes that an amount of € 381,925 of the Yantai funds was wrongly attributed to the private funds. An amount of € 110,000 was due to double-counting and € 271,925 should be seen as public funds, according to the Inspectorate. The UG has now deducted these sums from their 2018 financial statements.
Chair of the Board of the University, Jouke de Vries: "When I took office, I indicated that we would accelerate the phasing-out of the Yantai project and review our China policy. Now that the Inspectorate’s report has been published, we can close this chapter. I appreciate that this investigation has been dealt with in a serious and thorough manner. The Board of the University shares the Inspectorate’s view that no public funds should have gone towards the preparation costs for Yantai, and that the UG intended to act according to this view. The Inspectorate does not call to question the University’s actions. There was no precedent for this initiative. We have explored the possibilities with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the Inspectorate from the outset of the project in 2015. It turns out that we made a mistake and we accept that. Our 2018 financial statements reflect a maximum deduction."
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