Country for PR: China
Contributor: Xinhua News Agency
Friday, January 19 2018 - 19:04
AsiaNet
Universities at the Heart of China's Innovation Race
HANGZHOU, China, Jan. 19, 2018 /Xinhua-AsiaNet/--

In recognition of their work towards the prevention of infectious diseases, 
including the deadly H7N9 Bird Flu virus, a team led by Professor Li Lanjuan 
have been presented with the Grand Prize of China's National Science and 
Technology Progress Awards on January 8th, 2018.

A member of Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE), Li serves as the director of 
the State Key Laboratory for Infectious Diseases Diagnosis and Treatment at the 
First Affiliated Hospital of the Medical School of Zhejiang University (ZJU).

The Award is the highest level of recognition for technological performance in 
the country. Li and her team established an innovative model for prevention and 
treatment of epidemic disease, successfully preventing and controlling the 
spread of the H7N9 bird flu virus in 2013. It was the first time that Chinese 
scientists had independently contained a major epidemic.

While not only avoiding the recurrence of the tragic SARS outbreak of 2003, 
Li's approach has since helped safeguard China against recent global outbreaks 
of the likes of MERS and ZIKA. Most notably, its outstanding performance when 
fighting Ebola allowed this new approach to have a global impact. The method, 
created by Li and her team, was praised as an example to follow internationally 
by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Three other projects led by ZJU professors were also commended with a 2017 
Science and Technology Award. According to Shanghai Ranking, over the past five 
years, Tsinghua University has been leading nationwide with a total of 37 
national science and technology awards, followed by ZJU, Xi'an Jiaotong 
University and Peking University.

Founded in 1897, ZJU is one of the oldest modern higher education institutions 
in China and has become one of its leading universities. The latest ESI 
(Essential Science Indicators) statistics place ZJU among the top 1% globally 
in 18 disciplines and in the top 100 in another seven disciplines, seeing it 
stand in second among Chinese universities.

"Innovation has always been the soul and the key competitive advantage of our 
university in its pursuit of becoming a world-class institution," Professor Wu 
Zhaohui, president of ZJU, said. "In recent years, Zhejiang University has 
strengthened in a wide range of unique fields, nurturing a large amount of 
internationally significant scientific research."

The Statistical Report on Chinese Sci-tech Paper in 2016, released by the 
Institute of Science and Technology Information of China, ranks ZJU first tier 
among many lists of domestic higher education institutions. Meanwhile, 6,231 
papers credited to ZJU are indexed by SCI, making it China's leader. ZJU also 
boasts the most invention patents of any university in the country with 1,738.

"We have many innovative teams similar to Li's," explained Professor Yan 
Jianhua, the University's vice president. There has been an active shift 
towards nurturing the nation's innovation-driven development in recent years. 
By aiming to perfect its top-level design, push forward basic research and 
high-tech industrialisation, China has been trying to create an ecosystem that 
is conducive to technological innovation. As a result, researchers at higher 
education institutions have been encouraged to be more active, enterprising and 
innovative.

China's Ministry of Science and Technology's recent Monitoring Report on 
Chinese Universities' Innovation Capacity revealed that this policy shift has 
seen Chinese universities redirected from pursuing physical expansion to 
qualitative development, leading to rapid growth in scientific and 
technological innovation. Improving the capacity to fulfill this aim, 
cultivating prospering talent and channelling this into meaningful output were 
particularly highlighted.

The Ministry of Education's 2017 Top Ten Scientific and Technological Progress 
of Chinese Universities and Colleges featured a team led by Professor Chen 
Yunmin from ZJU, who developed a dynamic system for testing high-speed train 
safety.

Developing a method for assessing the settlement of railway tracks, they 
tackled the difficulties in repairing tracks without suspending train services 
and have already had an impact throughout China. Its application can now be 
found in the construction and maintenance on the Jinghu (Beijing-Shanghai), 
Huning (Shanghai-Nanjing) and Huhang (Shanghai-Hangzhou) railways, as well as 
the underground systems in cities like Hangzhou and Ningbo. Such technological 
advances will have far-reaching implications as China reaches out globally to 
build a community of shared future.

"Innovation is the greatest driver of development," Wu emphasised. 
"Universities should be a source of strength and a leading engine for 
innovation-oriented development."

With the country's technological impact being felt globally, Wu believes that 
in the future, ZJU will be positioned at the international forefront of 
development, expanding its capacity to push boundaries and increase its ability 
to serve society as universities continue to compete to be a leader in China.

Source: Zhejiang University (ZJU)

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