Building momentum for scientific research and talent highland
Adrian Cremin | 01/24/2023

Over the past year, the Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) has made a series of important scientific and technological progresses with high-level achievements and established several new scientific research platforms. In doing so, the University will forge ahead with its aim of becoming a world-class research university, and contribute to the development of science and technology in Shenzhen and the country.

Increased scientific success: Physics’s highlights of the year includes SUSTech’s research achievement

In December, the American Physical Society’s (APS) Physics website reviewed the year’s major advances in international physics. They released ten of the most representative important works of 2022 as the “Highlights of the Year”.

Professor Jingyun Fan’s research group from SUSTech, with their work entitled “Fundamental position of complex numbers in quantum mechanics,” was included in the list alongside other significant research achievements, including breakthroughs in laser fusion, the turning on of an upgraded Large Hadron Collider, the first photograph of the Milky Way’s black hole, stunning images from the James Webb Space Telescope, Spacecraft Crash Changes Asteroid Orbit, and deciphering Protein Folding.

In 2022, SUSTech published 6,271 high-level academic papers, including 4,651 SCI papers. It published 19 influential papers in journals such as Nature, Science, and Cell.

Nearly 950 scientific research projects were approved, including 291 projects from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC); 80 science and technology projects from the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), including 12 national key research and development plan projects, all of which have reached new heights for the University

SUSTech received more than 66 scientific research awards at various levels. The Shenzhen Science and Technology Innovation Committee announced the recipients of the 2022 Shenzhen Science and Technology Award. SUSTech won a total of ten awards, of which four are first prizes, ranking first among the city’s universities and scientific research institutions.

The weighted fractional count (WFC) of SUSTech’s Nature Index of Chinese Universities also increased to 270.8 (October 1, 2021 – September 30, 2022), ranking 12th in the list of Chinese Universities, and 27th in the World University Natural Index Rankings, once again setting a record high.

In November, Clarivate released its list of 2022 Highly Cited Researchers. A total of 13 scholars from SUSTech were selected, ranking 22nd among universities from mainland China, and a record high for the University. The Highly Cited Researchers from SUSTech mainly come from the categories of Physics, Chemistry, Materials Science, Computer Science, Immunology, and  Cross-Discipline.

Municipal, provincial, and national high-level talents and team projects also achieved outstanding results. The University has been approved for five National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars projects and four National Science Fund for Excellent Young Scholars projects.

The Pearl River Scholar Program team project declared in 2021 received notification of the project approval results this year, with a total approved funding of 70 million yuan. The University was also approved for three Outstanding Young Scholar Projects and five Young Scholar Improvement Projects from the Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province.

For three consecutive years, one project from SUSTech has been approved by the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Research Team of the Guangdong Regional Joint Fund (only three projects are approved in the province each year). The University has also been approved for four Outstanding Young Scholar projects in Shenzhen and eight Excellent Young Scholar projects in Shenzhen. Additionally, it has been approved for four high-level talent teams in Shenzhen, with a total funding of 55 million yuan, ranking first in the city in terms of the number of funding teams and funds.

SUSTech made significant strides in the development of its liberal arts through various projects, platforms, and awards. In 2022, the University received more than five million yuan for the first time in project funding.

The University has made new breakthroughs in many ministerial and provincial projects, such as the Ministry of Education Humanities and Social Sciences Project and the Philosophy and Social Sciences Planning Project of Guangdong Province. It has also been approved for one Social Science Popularization Base in Guangdong Province, one Key Research Base for Humanities and Social Sciences in Shenzhen, and two university-level sciences research institutions in liberal arts.

SUSTech establishes new scientific research institutions

In 2022, to promote the rapid development of research work in the fields of new materials, biomedicine, carbon neutrality, nanotechnology, precision optics, urban civilization, and clean governance, the University established seven new institutions. These scientific research institutions included the Institute of Nanoscience and Applications (INA), Center for Precision Optical Engineering, Institute of Health Medicine, Guangming Advanced Research Institute, Institute of Clean Governance, Energy Institute for Carbon Neutrality, and Institute of Global Urban Civilization.

In 2022, significant progress was also made in the development of large-scale scientific facilities and platforms. The large-scale scientific facilities of the material genome and the free electron laser projects led by SUSTech are progressing steadily. They will focus on major frontier scientific issues and serve the country’s major needs.

SUSTech has 106 scientific research platforms at various levels, including three national-level research platforms, 34 provincial- and ministerial-level scientific research platforms, and 69 municipal-level scientific research platforms.

Focusing on strategic emerging industries, SUSTech continues to combine its academic advantages and has established a total of 85 joint scientific and technological institutions, of which 25 were founded in 2022. From a total of 107 scientific and technological achievements, 17 projects successfully completed the transformation of these achievements. The University has laid out special projects for the cultivation of high-value patents in 10 key fields, and obtained 568 authorized patents in 2022.

SUSTech carried out industry-university-research cooperation in new ways, and promoted the integration of S&T and finance, such as applying blockchain technology to support empowerment reform of scientific achievement.

On November 8, SUSTech completed the blockchain deposit certificate for the empowerment registration of ten scientific and technological achievements, such as “A connection structure with a multihull and four intellectual property rights” on the blockchain deposit platform of the Scientific and Technological Achievements and Intellectual Property Exchange Center of the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, and the Science and Technology Exchange Center issued the relevant authorization information registration preservation certificate.

SUSTech is the only strategic cooperation unit of the Shenzhen Stock Exchange Science and Exchange Center, which took the lead in building and completing the special area of scientific and technological achievements of the academic section, and became one of the key sections of the science and technology exchange center system.

Several high-quality academic conferences held on campus

The 2022 Fall Meeting of the Chinese Physical Society (CPS) took place from 17-20 November, as SUSTech hosted the academic conference this year. It attracted extensive attention from experts in related fields, and provided cutting-edge views and ideas for the future direction and innovative development of physics in China. The conference was carried out in a hybrid format, with the number of live viewers of the broadcast reaching almost 300,000. The event lasted four days, consisting of 3,456 registered participants and 1,493 accepted reports.

It also marked the 90th anniversary of CPS, and on November 18, it celebrated its anniversary at SUSTech. Nearly 400 guests attended the celebration, including experts and scholars from the CPS, various universities, research institutes, enterprises, and representatives of faculty members and students from the University.

From October 2022, several Future Science Prize events were held at SUSTech. On October 23, the Hong Kong Symposium – Science for the Future, which was jointly sponsored by the Future Science Awards Foundation and the Academy of Sciences of Hong Kong (ASHK), was held in Hong Kong. Three Future Science Prize Laureates from SUSTech participated in the hybrid format event and presented keynote reports. They included SUSTech President Qikun XUE, Vice President Xueming YANG, and Chair Professor Dawei MA.

At the end of the year, the 2022 Future Science Prize Award Ceremony was recently held simultaneously in Beijing, Hong Kong, and Shenzhen. SUSTech hosted the ceremony in Shenzhen, which was attended by representatives of the Future Science Prize Council, renowned academics, entrepreneurs, and industry leaders. The event was jointly organized by the University of Hong Kong (HKU) and SUSTech.

In November, the second Xplorer Forum, co-sponsored by SUSTech and Tencent, was held at the University. It is a high-level, interdisciplinary academic exchange platform provided for winners of the Xplorer Prize. The Xplorer Prize is a scientist-led award for basic science and cutting-edge technologies. Up to 2022, it has funded a total of 200 outstanding young scientists.

At the forum, President Qikun XUE, world-renowned Chinese structural biologist Ning YAN, world-famous plant biologist Jianjian ZHU, distinguished cell biologist Hongtao YU, and many other top scientists domestically and internationally gathered online with young scientists who won the Xplorer Prize to discuss cutting-edge topics in the field of science. The Xplorer Forum has been held annually since 2021, and SUSTech has hosted it for two consecutive years.

The University also held several high-level forums and seminars in 2022, which included the Seminar on Coordinated Development of Disciplines and Emerging Industries, the Seminar on New Forms of Human Civilization and Urban Civilization Models, and the first Greater Bay Area Women’s Science and Technology Workers Summit.