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President Li Yuanyuan lectured at Annual International Forum on Higher Education 2019

October 15, 2019

News.hust.edu.cn - The Annual International Forum on Higher Education 2019, with the theme "International Horizons and China Experience of Higher Education Modernization", took place at Lanzhou University from October 12 to 13.

(Prof. Li Yuanyuan, President of HUST, makes a presentation)

HUST President prof. Li Yuanyuan,  the Vice Chairman of Chinese Association of Higher Education, , was invited to make a presentation entitled "Shoulder Greater responsibility, Scale new heights, Speeding up the construction of first-class universities " at the opening ceremony and main forum. The presentation focused on the new situation of world higher education development, the new stage of China's higher education development and the new thought on the development of HUST.

 

                                                                         (Li Yuanyuan’s presentation)

Li stressed in the presentation that a new round of technology revolution and industrial changes is reconstructing the global innovation domain and reshaping the global economic structure. The fundamental, guiding and overall role of education is becoming more prominent. Governments around the world have launched excellence-oriented higher education programs, which will have far-reaching impact on the future development of global universities. China's higher education is at a climbing and growing stage. We should implement General Secretary Xi Jinping's important statement on higher education, establish ourselves in the new era, face new contradictions and grasp new stages, shoulder the heavy mission assigned by history, foster character and civic virtue, cultivate talents for the Party and nation, strive to be innovation pacesetters in the new era, support and guide national economic and social development, and make new contributions to global sustainability.

Based on the existing results in "double first-class" construction, in the near term, HUST will advance the strategies of "giving priority to moral education, establishing the university through academics, strengthening the university through talents, prospering the university through innovation, vitalizing the university through opening and glorifying the university through culture", and carry forward the spirit of shouldering heavy responsibility and scaling new heights, said Li. With focus on high-level discipline construction, high-level talent teams, high-caliber innovation bases, high-quality innovation talent training and high-level international exchanges and cooperation, HUST will foster moral character and civic virtue, and speed up reform and opening-up, in an effort to become a world top university.

                         (Academician Li Yuanyuan, President of Huazhong University of Science and Technology, is interviewed by CCTV and other media outlets)

  (Academician Li Yuanyuan, President of Huazhong University of Science and Technology, communicates with a British higher education expert)

On the sidelines of the conference, Li granted interviews to CCTV, CETV, Guangming Daily and other media outlets. We have taken fostering moral character and civic virtue as our fundamental task and its effects as the fundamental criterion to test all our work, which have impressed our foreign colleagues, said Li in an interview with CCTV. He also communicated with a British higher education expert.

As a key academic event built by CAHE in the long term, the International Forum on Higher Education has taken place successfully 18 times. Among over 1,400 attendees this year were over 60 foreign guests from 24 countries, leaders of over 100 universities, as well as experts and scholars from hundreds of universities.

Full text of Academician Li Yuanyuan's speech:

Shoulder greater responsibility, scale new heights, speed up first-class university construction

- Speech at the Annual International Forum on Higher Education 2019
Li Yuanyuan

President of Huazhong University of Science and Technology

Ladies and gentlemen, dear delegates,

First of all, I would like to thank the host for inviting me to discuss some issues of higher education with you, and share HUST's practices and ideas in this respect.

Today I will focus on three topics: the new situation of world higher education development, the new stage of China's higher education development and the new thought on the development of HUST.

I The new situation of world higher education development

The 21st century has seen the deepening of world multi-polarization, economic globalization, social informatization and cultural diversity, as well as the entry of global technology innovation into an unprecedented stage of density and activity. A new round of technology revolution and industrial changes is reconstructing the global innovation domain and reshaping the global economic structure. Science and technology has never made such a profound impact on the future and destiny of a country and the well-being of the people. The competition in comprehensive national strength is actually talent competition in the current world. Talents have gradually become strategic resources driving economic and social development. The fundamental, guiding and overall role of education is becoming more prominent. As a key link of the national innovation system, as well as an important junction of the primary resource-talent and the primary productive force-science and technology, universities shoulder great mission and glorious responsibility.

How to adjust to the new situation and new changes, grasp opportunities, develop rapidly and with high quality is a new topic we need to think about for higher education. Thus, governments around the world have launched excellence-oriented higher education programs, such as Germany's "Universities Excellence Initiative", France's "Excellence Initiative", Japan's "Top Global University Project", Russia's "5-100" Russian Academic Excellence Project, as well as "Center of Excellence" launched by countries like Finland, Norway, Denmark and Poland. These programs have three things in common: firstly, the governments attach great importance to the global competitiveness of higher education and the guiding role of technology innovation, and focus on constructing first-class universities or disciplines; secondly, the programs underline academic excellence and achievement output; lastly, the programs encourage discipline crossing and integration, as well as international and domestic exchanges and cooperation between universities and different institutions. I think these plans aimed to improve the talent training and research level of universities in respective countries will have far-reaching impact on the future development of global universities.

II The new stage of China's higher education development

Building a community of shared future has gradually become a broad consensus of the international community in the current world. World top universities have built bridges linking different civilizations and countries in a more responsible and open manner, and are undertaking the responsibility and obligation of addressing common problems facing mankind and serving human development. Thus, in a certain sense, China's efforts to construct world top universities is cultivating global innovation talents, conducting transnational scientific research, giving full play to its role in the global innovation system, renovating civilization and benefiting mankind.

General Secretary Xi Jinping noted in the report of the 19th CPC National Congress that as education power building is a basic project for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, we should give priority to education, speed up education modernization and run education to the satisfaction of the people. He called for efforts to speed up first-class university and discipline construction, and accomplish the connotative development of education. At the National Education Conference, he stressed that we should keep to the road of socialist education development with Chinese characteristics, and cultivate socialist builders and successors developed in morality, intelligence, physique, aesthetics and labor with the goal of uniting people, perfecting personality, developing manpower, cultivating talents and benefiting the people. China Education Modernization 2035 proposed eight basic concepts of advancing education modernization, set an overall objective and deployed 10 strategic missions. The implementation plan issued soon afterwards fixed the five-year action plan.

China's higher education is at a climbing and growing stage. We should implement General Secretary Xi Jinping's important statement on higher education, establish ourselves in the new era, and recognize the necessity, urgency and importance of the connotative development of education; should face new contradictions, speed up the development of equal and quality higher education, and meet the people's new requirements; and should grasp new stages, deepen reform in such aspects as education and teaching, scientific research, governance system and governance capacity, and enhance the core competitiveness of higher education. We should grasp the general trend, seize opportunities, face up to problems, shoulder the heavy mission assigned by history, foster character and civic virtue, cultivate talents for the Party and nation, strive to be innovation pacesetters in the new era, support and guide national economic and social development, and make new contributions to global sustainability.

III The new thought on the development of HUST

Daring to compete and being skilled in transformation is HUST's unique spirit; concentrating on academic research and being realistic and innovation is HUST's unique quality; promoting morality and forging ahead with responsibility is HUST's unique feelings. Over the 67 years since its founding, HUST has rode the tide of China's higher education reform and innovation, rose rapidly and been reputed as an "epitome of the higher education development of the People's Republic of China".

Since the start of "double first-class" university construction, HUST has taken fostering character and civic virtue as the fundamental task, integrated humanistic education with scientific education, scientific research with social service and the major platform strategy and innovation-driven development, focused on top talent cultivation, innovation drive and first-class system building, and comprehensively advanced the fulfillment of five construction tasks and five reform tasks, thus achieving significant results. Recently we have advanced the "six strategies" in depth to speed up first-class university construction.

Firstly, giving priority to moral education. Universities "educate people" instead of "making something". Guided by the concept of education orientation and moral education first, we have cultivated outstanding talents with lofty ideals, noble personality, patriotism, humanistic care and complete capabilities. In recent years, we have strengthened professional ethics building, enhanced "cultural quality education", opened the course of "Insight into China" and carried out the activity of "Telling the Stories of HUST", to promote the brand of "Study in HUST". During visiting HUST, German Chancellor Angela Merkel hailed HUST as a "world-renowned forest university with endless talents". In the next period, HUST will continue to cultivate outstanding talents "with soul", comprehensively advance top undergraduate talent cultivation, implement the Opinions of Huazhong University of Science and Technology on Accelerating First-class Undergraduate Education Reform and Construction Project (50 Articles of Undergraduate Education), implement the quality and innovation capacity improvement project for graduate education, release and implement the Opinions of Huazhong University of Science and Technology on Accelerating First-class Graduate Education Reform and Construction Project (50 Articles of Graduate Education), deepen medical education coordination, establish the mode of "medical education +" medical talent cultivation, transform disciplinary advantage into talent cultivation advantage, enhance the role of scientific research in promoting talent cultivation, use AI and other future technologies to renovate work methods of moral education, and promote the integrated development of scientific education and arts & humanities education.

Secondly, establishing the university through academic research. Academic research is fundamental to a university and the core competitiveness of a university. In recent years, HUST has achieved major breakthrough in many technology fields. The world's most accurate gravitation constant measured by the team of HUST's Center for Gravitational Experiments was selected as one of China's top 10 technology progresses in 2018 and has recently been included into a high school physics textbook; HUST's Wuhan National High Magnetic Field Center created a new world record for flat-op pulsed magnetic field intensity. HUST's technology innovation capacity has kept growing, and won 13 national science and technology awards as the first completion unit in recent three years, including 6  in 2018, ranking 4th among Chinese universities; HUST has published 9 papers on CNS (6 as the first author) and 66 papers on CNS's sub-journals. HUST has gradually formed its top disciplines, with 4 disciplines rated A+ and 14 disciplines rated A in the fourth-round discipline assessment. HUST's international and domestic competitiveness has improved significantly: in ESI ranking in September 2019, HUST was ranked 235th in the world; in 2019, HUST was ranked between 101st and 150th in the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) (between 5th and 8th among mainland China's universities) and 7th in Best Chinese Universities Ranking. In the future, we will intensify basic research and applied basic research with focus on the country's major needs and the frontier of world technology; will introduce advanced and urgently needed talents to build large teams, construct large platforms and organize large projects, thereby addressing "bottleneck" problems; will advance the "medicine +" mode; will build high-end new think tanks for philosophy and social sciences; will optimize our discipline territory, strengthen discipline crossing and integration, build "pillars of the great power" for national rejuvenation, and make more contributions to human health and world civilization.

Thirdly, strengthening the university through talents. A strong faculty leads to a strong university. The reputation and academic strength of a university are closely related to top talents. HUST has laid equal emphasis on talent introduction and cultivation, hosted the East Lake Forum seven consecutive times and created an overseas version. HUST's high-end talents have increased rapidly: 2 domestic academicians, 1 foreign fellow, 35 leading talents under the "National Special Support Program for Top Talents", 25 top young talents under the "National Special Support Program for Top Talents", 18 winners of the National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars (including 5 made public) and 22 winners of Excellent Young Scientists Fund have been added to HUST since 2016. HUST has achieved significant results in team building, with 5 projects designated as National Natural Science Foundation Innovative Research Group Projects. In the future, HUST will keep improving its talent development incentive and support system, upgrade the "Huazhong Scholar Program", highlight the cultivation and introduction of leading discipline talents and top young talents, and build a strong postdoctoral team and a top talent team.

Fourthly, prospering the university through innovation. Innovation is the first power to drive development and the first means to boost vitality. We should address problems arising in development with the concept of reform and innovation. HUST has attracted and cultivated talents, promoted discipline crossing and achieved results by large platforms, and made remarkable achievements in research base construction in recent years. HUST has "four bright pearls": HUST's Wuhan National Laboratory for Optoelectronics has been promoted to the Wuhan National Research Center for Optoelectronics and become one of China's first 6 national research centers; HUST's pulsed high magnetic field facility (PHMFF) has achieved a leap from behind within less than 10 years; the preliminary design and budget estimate of HUST's precision gravity measurement facility (PGMF) has been approved by the National Development and Reform Commission and the facility is under construction.; HUST's National Innovation Institute of Digital Design and Manufacturing has been approved. HUST's high-end NC equipment integrated research platform has passed the expert review organized by the Department of Science and Technology, MOE. HUST's State Key Lab of Digital Manufacturing Equipment & Technology was rated outstanding in a national assessment. Amid a strong innovation atmosphere, our students have performed strongly in various innovation & entrepreneurship competitions and high-tech enterprises by our alumni have thriven. China has established the new development concept led by innovation, has caught up and led in technology development, and is developing from a large technology country into a technology power. We should adjust to the new situation, stay sensitive to future technology development, strengthen overall planning, and advance discipline crossing and integration. For example, enhance innovation guidance, integrate AI with manufacturing, healthcare, politics and law, and press, and cultivate new discipline growth points.

Fifthly, vitalizing the university through opening. Opening is the inherent gene of universities, as well as the foundation of university vitality and creativity. In recent years, HUST has pressed ahead with many intercollegiate programs, and carried out substantial teaching and research cooperation with world top universities; HUST has established 8 "111" talent introduction bases and achieved significant results in foreign expert introduction; HUST has enrolled over 3,000 international students from over 140 countries. Besides, HUST has deeply integrated itself into national strategies, opened to the society, cooperated with enterprises and local governments, upheld the concept of service orientation and made contributions in development. HUST has built an innovation chain integrating the government, enterprises, the university and research institutes, established 14 industrial research institutes across the country, led the transformation and upgrading of regional industries, served the development of the regional economy and society, and provided strong intellectual and talent support for building an optoelectronic information industry cluster with an output value of 1 trillion yuan in the Optics Valley of China. In the future, HUST will strengthen top-level design in open cooperation, optimize the cooperation network, establish deep and substantial cooperation relations with world top universities and research institutes, world-renowned enterprises and relevant local governments, and improve innovation vitality and the capacity for sustainable development.

Lastly, glorifying the university through culture. Universities are not only the center of technology innovation, but also the center for the formation and dissemination of advanced ideas and culture. A first-class university should cultivate everlasting culture bringing teachers and students together and being of demonstrative significance to the society, and make it inexhaustible power and eternal vitality for university development and progress. In recent years, the connotation of HUST's campus culture building has been enriched. Works such as "Be Patient", "Devotion-an Extraordinary Life" and "Run for Life" were reported by media outlets like People's Daily and CCTV News, arousing strong response in the society; "March of Social Morality, We Are Always on the Way" was selected as one of MOE's "Honor Fine Chinese Traditional Culture" demonstration projects; HUST's dragon boat base was designated one of MOE's first fine Chinese traditional culture inheritance bases. To glorify the university through culture, we should pay attention to culture infiltration, inflection and edification, value both dominant education and recessive education, strengthen ideological education and value guidance to teachers and students, and consolidate the foundation of education; should strengthen infrastructural construction, build first-class natatoriums and concert halls, strengthen and develop artistic education, aesthetic education and physical education, make teachers, students, staff members and workers seek the truth of science and feel the beauty of humanities at HUST, make the light of science and the beauty of humanities converge at HUST, foster the spirit of "morality, quality and taste", and form HUST's characteristic cultural quality.

Dear delegates, under the strategy of "giving priority to moral education, establishing the university through academics, strengthening the university through talents, prospering the university through innovation, vitalizing the university through opening and glorifying the university through culture", we will continue to carry forward the spirit of shouldering greater responsibility and scaling new heights. With focus on high-level discipline construction, high-level talent teams, high-caliber innovation bases, high-quality innovation talent training and high-level international exchanges and cooperation, we will foster moral character and civic virtue, and speed up reform and opening-up, in an effort to become a world top university.

At last, I sincerely invite experts and friends home and abroad to visit HUST, thank you!

 

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