Putting student partnership and collaboration centre-stage in a research-led context

A case study of the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship programme at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University

  • Henk Huijser Queensland University of Technology
  • James Wilson Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University
  • Yao Wu Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University
  • Shuang Qiu Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University
  • Kangxin Wang Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University
  • Shun Li Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University
  • Wenye Chen Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University
  • M.B.N. Kouwenhoven Xi-‘an Jiaotong-Liverpool University
Keywords: Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF), partnership, collaboration, extracurricular programs, student engagement


In this case study, we evaluated the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) initiative at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU), an extracurricular programme that focuses on academic staff-student partnerships and collaborations. While not directly integrated into university degree programmes, SURF provides students with the opportunity to develop practical research skills related to knowledge they have acquired in class. Participating students receive an authentic research experience, which involves collaboration on research projects with academic staff. All students are required to present results of their projects at a public poster presentation event organised by the university. This case study is a partnership between Academic Enhancement Centre (AEC) staff, who organize and run SURF, SURF students, and a lecturer (M.B.N. Kouwenhoven), and it presents a reflection on their experiences of the SURF programme, and in particular on the notions of partnership and collaboration and the potential tension between those two concepts.


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Author Biographies

Henk Huijser, Queensland University of Technology
Curriculum Designer, Senior Lecturer Learning and Teaching Unit
James Wilson, Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University


Director Educational Development Unit


Yao Wu, Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University

Language Centre

Chinese Language Tutor

Shuang Qiu, Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University

Faculty of Science


Kangxin Wang, Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University

Faculty of Science


Shun Li, Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University

Faculty of Science


Wenye Chen, Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University

International Business School Suzhou



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How to Cite
Huijser, H., Wilson, J., Wu, Y., Qiu, S., Wang, K., Li, S., Chen, W., & Kouwenhoven, M. (2019). Putting student partnership and collaboration centre-stage in a research-led context. International Journal for Students As Partners, 3(1), 160-168. https://doi.org/10.15173/ijsap.v3i1.3497
Case Studies