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HUST Alumna selected as winner of Falling Walls Science Breakthroughs of the Year 2021

Oct 9, 2021

Professor Fu Xiaolan, alumni from School of Management, has been selected as one of ten winners of the Falling Walls Science Breakthroughs of the Year 2021 in the category Science and Innovation Management.

The Falling Walls Foundation is a German, multi-disciplinary innovation foundation founded in 2009. It holds an annual science event in Berlin coinciding with the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall; showcasing the research work of international scientists from a wide range of fields.

Every year, academics and academic institutions, universities, research organizations, companies, private and public research centers, academies, research funders, foundations, and individuals are invited by Falling Walls to nominate “the latest breakthroughs, outstanding science projects, and bright minds behind them” in 10 categories. Ten winners were selected from finalists in each category, and one winner from each category will be selected as the Falling Walls Science Breakthroughs of the Year 2021.

Fu Xiaolan, alumni of Class 851 of Industrial Management Engineering, School of Management, HUST, and the first Chinese tenured professor in the field of social sciences at the University of Oxford, is the founding director of the Technology and Management Centre for Development (TMCD), professor of Department of International Development, expert of Technology and International Development and Fellow of Green Templeton College at the University of Oxford. She was appointed by the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations to the Governing Council of the Technology Bank for the Least Developed Counties and to the Ten-Member High Level Advisory Group of the UN Technology Facilitation Mechanism.

The award is recognition of Professor Fu’s dedication to the project Valuation of Early Stage Technology (VEST), which developed a model based on firm-level big data to estimate the value of new technologies in the information and communication industry. Based on their findings, the project also gave rise to a social enterprise, OxValue AI. The Falling Walls Jury was impressed by “the outstanding quality and relevance of Fu’s research” according to the announcement.

Always a straight-A student, Fu Xiaolan has demonstrated academic excellence from an early age, which paved a smooth way for her further education. In 1985, the Ministry of Education tried, in some universities, the policy of enrolling high school students without the need for testing via university entrance examinations. At the time, Fu Xiaolan was studying at the high school attached to Hunan Normal University. She benefited from the policy and was then admitted to Huazhong University of Science and Technology due to her outstanding performance.

After graduation from HUST, Fu Xiaolan acquired her master’s and doctoral degrees from Hunan University and Lancaster University, respectively. She then entered the University of Cambridge as a post-doctor. In 2012, when aged only 45 years old, she became the first Chinese tenured professor in the field of social sciences at University of Oxford.

As an alumna of the School of Management, Fu Xiaolan has always cared about the development of HUST. On June 14, 2018, she paid her alma mater a visit and was hired as a visiting professor. She also gave a lecture on China’s Innovation Road and Scholars’ Duty, in which she introduced China’s innovation system and its characteristics, calling on contemporary scholars to shoulder their responsibilities and duties in this fast changing world.

Source: School of Management

Written by: Ren Jianwei

Edited by: Cao Yutao, Scott, Peng Yumeng

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