Leaders from the University of Washington, Tsinghua University, Microsoft and other local organizations came together Friday to celebrate to kick off construction of the Global Innovation Exchange building in Bellevue’s Spring District.
The Global Innovation Exchange, or GIX, is a partnership between Tsinghua and UW to offer graduate technology degrees for U.S. and Chinese students. Microsoft is a key corporate partner and committed $40 million to the initiative last year.
GIX was first announced in June 2015 and launched this month, as nine students in the program started their studies at Tsinghua University. The GIX building in Bellevue’s Spring District will open next year and host 70 students, including the nine that are now studying at Tsinghua. It represents the first time a Chinese research university will establish a physical presence in the U.S.
The 100,000-square-foot GIX building will have design studios, a large maker space, electronics prototyping labs, and spaces for collaboration and presentations.
Students at GIX will have the opportunity to learn from UW and Tsinghua professors, spend time at each campus, and choose between the 15-month UW Master of Science in Technology Innovation degree or the 21-month GIX dual masters’ degree. The program is now taking applications for its inaugural fall 2017 cohort. The classes aim to break the mold for traditional technology education and train students in entrepreneurship, innovation, and user interfaces for connected devices.
GeekWire visited Tsinghua University in Beijing last year as part of our China trip, where we had a chance to meet GIX professors and learn more about the program’s philosophy and vision. We also got to explore the Tsinghua campus.