The Global Innovation Exchange

Microsoft is investing $40 million in a new technology-focused academic institute in Seattle, in what is being touted as a “groundbreaking new partnership” between University of Washington and Tsinghua University, a research-focused institution from China.

The Global Innovation Exchange (GIX) will be built in Bellevue, around 10 miles from the main University of Washington campus, and is expected to open by the end of 2016, kicking off with a master’s degree program in technology innovation. According to a University of Washington press release, “this is the first time a Chinese research university has established a physical presence in the United States.”

While it’s expected that fewer than fifty students will enroll at the beginning, the longer-term vision is to have several thousand attendees and a range of certificates within a decade.

The GIX isn’t being pitched as your typical university — it says it will “bring together people from around the world to learn about and work on innovative ways to address some of our biggest global challenges,” which includes health care, energy, urban planning, and climate change.