Attracting best minds for the development of a first-class university
Adrian Cremin | 01/25/2023

In 2022, the Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) attached great importance to developing and cultivating its faculty members and introducing new talents, both domestically and internationally, to assist with the high-quality development of the University and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA).

Strengthening high-level talent pool

In September, Efim Zelmanov, recipient of the Fields Medal, the mathematical equivalent of the Nobel Prize, joined SUSTech as Chair Professor of the Department of Mathematics.

In November, at the opening ceremony of the 2022 X-Lake Forum, Prof. Efim Zelmanov gave a keynote speech on the application of mathematics in daily life, the relationship between mathematics, artificial intelligence (AI), and big data, and spoke about the bright future for SUSTech and Shenzhen.

From January to November 2022, more than 160 new faculty positions were filled, including 19 chair professors, nine professors, seven associate professors, and 45 assistant professors.

Six academicians and members of various academies of sciences also joined SUSTech this year, including Jiansheng ZHU, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Efim Zelmanov, a foreign academician at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Zuowei XIE and Jinfeng JIA, academicians of CAS, Jiansheng DAI, a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng), and Derong LIU, a member of the Academia Europaea. SUSTech also attracted 38 scholars with national-level talent titles.

Through the introduction of top talents, which not only contributes to the development of a world-class scientific research exchange platform and first-class talent introduction platform, but also plays an important role in SUSTech’s development as a “Double First-Class” university and its disciplines.

In addition to its growing talent team, SUSTech aims to recruit top-notch talents from both domestically and abroad. More than 95% of the faculty members have doctoral degrees, more than 90% have worked overseas, and 60% have worked or studied in a global top 100 university, and high-level talents account for about 65% of the faculty staff.

Against the background of the development of Shenzhen and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA), and with its goal to build a world-class university, SUSTech has attracted top talents and won the first prize in the Shenzhen “Talent Bole Award” for six consecutive years.

As of November 2022, SUSTech has 1,363 faculty members, including 59 academicians (43 full-time), 58 international fellows, 39 members appointed by the Ministry of Education, 17 members from the National Special Support Program, 49 recipients of the National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholar titles, and 29 recipients of the National Science Fund for Excellent Young Scholar titles.

SUSTech believes in creating a comfortable and flexible environment for innovation and entrepreneurship, and providing support to faculty members in the transformation of scientific and technological achievements.

At the same time, it has deepened the integration of industry and education, and strengthened the innovation chain of industry-university-research integration of basic research, application development, achievement transfer, and industrialization. It has cooperated with various districts in Shenzhen to reflect the University’s “dual district” drive.

SUSTech has established strategic partnerships with various districts in Shenzhen, taking the lead in the construction project of the Shenzhen Ocean University and the Shenzhen Institute of Design and Innovation (SIDI), and has co-constructed a number of university-industry-research cooperation and talent training platforms such as the SUSTech School of Microelectronics, Shenzhen Institute of Design and Innovation, Institute of Microelectronics, Guangming Advanced Research Institute, and the Pingshan Biomedical Research Institute.

The University continued to upgrade its services to ensure that talents can concentrate on teaching and scientific research. SUSTech provides comprehensive services for high-level talents, communicating and coordinating with relevant government departments and helping to solve everyday issues such as accommodation, visa applications, childcare services, etc. It also provides talents with assistance to support them in the research and interpretation of municipal, provincial, and national talent policies, and assists them in applying for funding and projects subsidies.

Faculty recognized for outstanding achievements

The construction of a first-class university requires first-class talents. In 2022, five faculty were elected as academicians or members of various academies of sciences, including Jian LIN, a member of the Academia Europaea (Academy of Europe), Xumu ZHANG and Zhiyun LIN, foreign members of the Russian Academy of Engineering (RAE), Junguo LIU, a member of the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences (SATW), and Guozhi XIAO, a foreign academician of the Ukrainian Academy of Engineering Sciences.

Faculty members at SUSTech won multiple domestic and international awards, demonstrating their scientific research contributions and performance on both the domestic and global academic stage.

Qikun XUE, President of SUSTech and Academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), won the Fritz London Memorial Prize, becoming the first Chinese scientist and only the second from Asia to win the award.

Xiaofei CHEN, Chair Professor of the Department of Earth and Space Sciences and Academician of CAS, and Ke LIU, Dean of the School of Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE), won the 9th Overseas Chinese Contribution Award hosted by the All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese (ACFROC).

Lars Ivar Samuelson, Chair Professor at SUSTech, was awarded the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA) Great Gold Medal for his outstanding contributions to the field of nanomaterials.

Jiamu DU, Professor of the School of Life Sciences at SUSTech, was awarded the 2022 Annual Conference of the Chinese Society for Plant Biology (CSPB) Outstanding Young Scientist Award.

Xueming YANG, Vice President of SUSTech and Dean of the College of Science, won the Future Science Prize in physical sciences for his research and development of new-generation molecular beam techniques with high resolution and sensitivity for state-resolved reaction dynamics studies, revealing quantum resonances and geometric phase effects in chemical reactions.

Hongwei GUO, Chair Professor of the School of Life Sciences at SUSTech, was awarded funding in the list of the first batch of New Cornerstone Investigator Program. Prof. GUO’s team has been focusing on the basic biological principles of plant growth and development, as well as plant-environment interactions for nearly 20 years. They have achieved several breakthrough discoveries in the field, especially on the plant ethylene signaling and the crosstalk between hormonal and environmental signaling pathways.

The project “Flexible Electronic Materials for Controlled Drug Release and Tissue Regeneration Devices” led by Prof. Zhi LUO, Associate Professor of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, was approved by the Ministry of Science and Technology of China. Born in 1991, Prof. LUO is the youngest chief scientist of the National Key R&D Program of SUSTech.

In 2022, SUSTech was approved for five National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars projects and four National Science Fund for Excellent Young Scholars projects. Three Outstanding Young Scholars projects and five Young Scholars Improvement projects of the Provincial Natural Science Foundation have also been approved.

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.

Now, SUSTech is continuing to grow its faculty team and cultivate top talents to contribute to the University’s “Double First-Class” status and develop a talent highland in the GBA.