Cultivating innovative talents for the new era
Adrian Cremin | 01/23/2023

In 2022, the Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) continued to implement innovative approaches and practices in cultivating top-notch talents. In doing so, the University achieved fruitful results in talent training with the improving quality of students and their successful achievements.

In January, the second-phase space of the Student Affairs Center was inaugurated. The Center provides intelligent services and an ecological environment for students. In June, the Youth Research Center of SUSTech was established to coordinate work and carry out research on youth-related projects. In November, the Youth Research Center launched eight research projects on youth league work and social practice, 12 on comprehensive development and support for students, and 12 on philosophy and education for students.

Under the new guidance of the student affairs, the version 2.0 of the Residential College development has been brought to a new stage, including the strengthening of the role of the tutor, improving the management of RCs, enhancing the collaborative education mechanism of the RCs, academic departments, and the liaison system, and realizing the students’ self-service, self-management, and self-education.

The University also further strengthened the development of the “Three Circles Model”, a new ideological and political education system.  For the first time in 2022, a course on “XI Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era” was offered to undergraduate students.

Many students also took part in various summer experiential learning programs and events. They traveled across countries to participate in multiple projects and activities. A group of students visited the Yuanjiashan Science Education Base in Jiangxi Province to carry out experiential learning in the fields. They took part in lectures about Yuan Longping, a Chinese scientist and the father of hybrid rice, and familiarized themselves with farming knowledge at the Base.

The Minghang Teaching Team went to Shufeng Village, Hengyang City, Hunan Province, where they provided handicraft, humanities, and physics experiment classes to children in the village. Through these fun and educational classes, the students of SUSTech helped broaden these children’s minds, expand their abilities, and contribute to the development of urban and rural educational resources.

In November, SUSTech signed a strategic cooperation agreement with the Communist Youth League of Shenzhen and unveiled the newly established Shenzhen Volunteer College. They agreed to jointly conduct in-depth research on volunteer services, and strive to achieve a number of leading national research results. Qikun XUE, President of SUSTech, was named the Shenzhen Volunteer College dean at the establishing ceremony.

Student volunteers from the University were also praised for their efforts and hard work throughout the year as they participated in various activities on and off campus.

In the fall semester of 2022, SUSTech focused on cultivating outstanding innovative talents, holding several seminars and forums around this topic. From August 25 to 26, the University held its 2022 Fall Meeting on Strategic Planning and Development. This year, the meeting focused on the cultivation of innovative talents, centering on all levels of talent training, and put forward the directions and ideas on how curricula, faculty members, and various departments should approach their work in talent training.

From September to December, the first Education and Teaching Seminar Series were held, where various offices and departments came together to hold seminars and meetings throughout the semester to discuss how to cultivate top-notch innovative talents and promote the high-quality development of education and teaching at the University.

The University also revised the Charter of the Undergraduate Teaching Committee and the Charter of the Undergraduate Teaching Steering Committee to support the implementation of the talent training plan, and further improve the faculty evaluation system for talent training.

Excelling in scientific research accomplishments

Last year, students of the University continued to shine and displayed their abilities and innovative qualities in various fields. Qian WANG, a Ph.D. student from SUSTech, published her scientific research results in Science as the first author where she observed the mechanism of siRNA production by a plant Dicer-RNA complex in dicing-competent conformation and also revealed the termini-specific, length-dependent, and strand-biased cutting. During the review process, one reviewer commented on the “landmark contribution” of the paper in this field.

“Scientists of the older generation inspire me, and I hope that, like the great master Xuesen QIAN, I can combine science and technology and their applications to contribute to the country’s development,” Qian WANG said.

Yinkai DONG, an alumnus of SUSTech, received an award in recognition of his personal success and contributions to education in rural areas; Xiaoyang LI, a 2020 undergraduate alumnus of the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, was selected on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list as a rising star of social enterprise and education. This marks the third time that alumni from SUSTech have been included on the list; Zhi ZHANG, an alumnus of SUSTech and founder of Shenzhen Nanke New Material Technology Co., Ltd., donated one million yuan to the SUSTech Education Foundation to support the development of the University.

The University achieved excellent results in various competitions, including the 29th International Mathematics Competition for University Students (IMC2022), Mathematical Contest in Modeling and Interdisciplinary Contest in Modeling (MCM/ICM), International Competition of Autonomous Running Robots (RUNNING ROBOT), International Supercomputing Conference Student Cluster Competition (ISC22 SCC), and APAC HPC-AI competition.

Some incredible breakthroughs and achievements in scientific research were also made by SUSTech students, with many of their works being recognized and published in international academic journals and academic conferences.

Yi LIU, an undergraduate student from the School of Environmental Science and Engineering, published research results on surface wind speed reversal in China and its impact on wind power and sand-dust storm in Environmental Research Letters and Environmental Science: Atmospheres.

Yuanzhe WEI, an undergraduate student in the Department of Mathematics, and his advisor, Kailiang Wu, Associate Professor of the Department of Mathematics, in collaboration with Professor Zheng Sun of the University of Alabama (UA), have achieved important results in the research on the stability of Runge-Kutta method. Their research was published in the SIAM Journal on Numerical Analysis, a top journal in computational mathematics.

Chenyang GAO, an undergraduate student from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, proposed a Conditional Feature Learning based Transformer to learn a better feature distribution, with the work being published in IEEE Transactions on Image Processing.

Yuhao WAN, an undergraduate student from the Department of Physics, made progress in the field of topological magnetoelectric effect in ferromagnetic axion insulators, and published the findings in National Science Review.

Ruoheng YAO and Huanzhihong DENG, undergraduates from the School of Microelectronics, published their research results in IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems II: Express Briefs (TCAS-II), a high-level academic journal that publishes brief papers in the circuit design field.

Wenxing LAN, Ziyuan YE, and Peijun RUAN, undergraduates from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, developed innovative ideas to solve large-scale real-world instances and achieved state-of-the-art results. Their research results were published in IEEE Transactions on Evolutionary Computation, the flagship international journal in the evolutionary computation field.

Xiaowen HUANG, an undergraduate of the School of Environmental Science and Engineering, was part of a research team that published their results on the impact of urbanization on hourly extreme precipitation in China in Environmental Research Letters.

2022 was the first year of enrollment after SUSTech was selected as a “Double First-Class” university, and the number and quality of students have steadily improved. For the first time last year, the number of new postgraduate students at the University exceeded that of its new undergraduate students.

SUSTech has more than 10,000 students on campus, highlighting its growth and continued commitment to cultivating high-level talents and laying a solid foundation for its development as a “Double First-Class” university. In 2022, the University admitted undergraduate students from 24 provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities across the Chinese mainland. It marked the first time the University enrolled students from Jilin Province. Over 53,000 online applications for admission to SUSTech were received, and almost 20,000 took part in the entrance test, a record for the University.

The number of postgraduate students at SUSTech also reached a new high, as it welcomed a total of 1,915 postgraduate students, including 1,369 masters and 546 doctoral students. Currently, the University has 5,455 graduate students.

In 2022, 1,650 students from the University graduated (excluding international students). Among 970 of the graduates, 70% choose to further their studies and go to some of the top “Double First-Class” domestic universities and world-renowned international universities. As for the graduates who entered the workforce last year, 70% were employed in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the “Belt and Road” region.