When approached by the UK for a response to the article, professor Feringa summarily dismissed it.
‘Much to my surprise, I read in a Chinese publication that “as a professor at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, Professor Feringa will lead the construction of the Department of Applied Chemistry, one of the first four undergraduate programs at the University of Groningen in Yantai”‘, he says.
‘I think it’s rather odd that someone would quote me as saying something I never said’, Feringa asserts. ‘I was asked by one person about Yantai, and all that I said was that the University of Groningen was planning to open a campus in Yantai’, Feringa says. ‘I am not involved in the plans in any way, so I didn’t say anything about it. It’s utter nonsense.’
‘No official opinion’
The chemistry bachelor is currently included on the list of RUG programmes that should eventually be offered in China, but Feringa says that he personally has no ‘official opinion’ on the university’s plans for a branch campus in Asia.
The claim that the professor would be involved in the Yantai campus comes from an article published on the website of the Qilu Evening News, an evening paper based in the province of Shandong, which is where the city of Yantai is located.
Although Feringa has yet to make any public remarks about working on the campus in China, one of his fellow Nobel chemistry laureates – Fraser Stoddard – has been a guest professor at Tianjin University where he has developed a lab for molecular synthesis research.