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SUSTech's School of Engineering Dean Professor Xu Zhenghe Interview - “To enhance interdisciplinary innovation and the construction of an international world-class Institute of Technology”

Jul 28, 2017 Latest

The School of Engineering will be the first new School to be established in SUSTech. It is currently composed of the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Mechanical and Energy Engineering Department of Ocean Science and Engineering, Department of Mechanics and Aerospace Engineering and the Department of Biomedical Engineering, and from next year they will be grouped into one School, combining a total of 8 departments.

SUSTech's School of Engineering has been under planning for some time, and in order to find out more about its operations, our reporter interviewed the Dean of Engineering Professor Xu Zhenghe.

Xu Zhenghe

          Professor Xu Zhenghe is a member of the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Engineering, and has worked at the University of Alberta in Canada for many years. He is an internationally renowned scholar in the field of scientific research and technology development in material separation, especially in the field of surface chemistry and interface science.

Enhance interdisciplinary communication and cooperation with the industry

          What is the advantage of building a School of Engineering as opposed to the previous independent faculties?

          Professor Xu Zhenghe gives a clear answer: “The establishment of the School of Engineering will effectively break the barriers between disciplines, enhance interdisciplinary innovation and co-ordinate the university's resources to further improve the conditions for university-industry cooperation, and better serve the community.

          After the establishment of the School of Engineering, it will also be possible to strengthen the interaction between professors and between disciplines. It will lay the foundation for a comprehensive research center, and hopefully grow into a platform of innovation and improvement.

          In addition, the "research, innovation, entrepreneurship" slogan of the university has been the leitmotiv driving professors and students to strengthen communication with companies, to identify business needs and find problems to be solved. With the establishment of the School of Engineering, the faculties will benefit from interdisciplinary management, comprehensive and stronger cooperation, and will further promote the cooperation with companies, and better serve the community.

          "This may be one of the reasons why I was recruited," Xu explains. "I worked with many companies in Canada and this experience makes me an ideal candidate to represent the School of Engineering, the integration of the advantages of various faculties Together, the basic research results into the application to go.

"Talent is the key"

          The School of Engineering will cover the eight faculties mentioned before, which include 110 teaching and research workers, and by 2020 that number is expected to reach 280 to 300.

          "Our goal is to build an international, world-class engineering college," Professor Xu Zhenghe said, so in the preparatory process, they will strengthen ties with worldclass institutes such as MIT, UBC and others.

          About building a first-class technical college, Professor Xu Zhenghe said: "The most important thing is to attract talent." The talent here includes not only excellent professors but also prospective students. The top chinese students tend to study abroad currently, but it is our hope that in the future it will be the top foreign students who will come to SSTech, as well as professors and postdoctorals.

          Professor Xu Zhenghe went on saying that it is important to continue to attract talented people in order to form an excellent campus interaction. Excellent teachers can attract a wide range of social resources, and further promote the development of the university's research platform. In turn, improving the research platform can attract more outstanding teachers and students, effectively leading the way to a virtuous circle.

          The School of Engineering advocates a "new engineering" concept, requiring students to learn a wider range of professional disciplines. At SUSTech during the foundation year and the second year the students cover a variety of core subjects before choosing a major in the third year.

          Concerning student training, Professor Xu Zheng says that the School of Engineering students will need to meet new requirements: as a first-class talent standards, we must first love science; interest is the source of all study. Even if at the beginning one is not very fond of his topic, you can also continue to explore other fields of study, each subject has a lot of mysteries to revealed, and by exploring more than one you will very likely find your path.

          Secondly, the School of Engineering students should combine technical abilities and leadership. Creativity is also one of the core requirements, as it is important in the future career. Leadership is also important, as an excellent scientist will usually lead a team to overcome major scientific problems.

          Finally, the School of Engineering students will be both "scientists" and "engineers". That means that it will be possible and even encouraged to study scientific issues and publish high-level academic papers, but also to study the applications of scientific principles to solve practical problems. Only with these qualities and independent learning and enterprising skills can our young students meet the high standards of the “new engineering” concept.

SUSTech School of Engineering background information:

          The SUSTech School of Engineering was officially validated in May 2017, with the plan to open in 888 days. It is located in the northwest area of the campus, nestled between hills and woods.

It will consist of two U-shaped scientific research and experimental building, with a total construction area of ​​about 114,000 square meters (of which the basement area will be about 19,200 square meters).

          In terms of architectural design, it will intgrate a style of integrity, management and convenience; a simple and elegant facade, in line with the characteristics of university engineering; functional flexible division, leaving an organic, extended view.

          The interior design will be rigorous and solemn, while emphasizing the return of classical architectural elements. Building decorations used will include terrazzo, mosaic, round lights, paint, stone and other classic decorative materials in conjunction with warm colors and local bright materials, shaping a rigorous and efficient, yet lively teaching and learning space.


Text: Student News Agency Gu Yu

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