Cutting-edge core technology should not be imported, but developed domestically, Shi Yigong, a well-known scientist and president of Westlake University, told reporters at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 3.
The aim of the China’s first new type of private research university is to become a world-class institute, said Shi, who is one of the initiators of Westlake University and a member of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), before the opening of the second session of the country’s top political advisory body.
Located in Yunqi town in the scenic West Lake area of Hangzhou, east China’s Zhejiang province, the research-oriented university is the first Chinese university held by social force and supported by the country. It has received much attention since its establishment.
Shi, a structural biologist, is an icon and spokesperson of Westlake University. In 2015, he and other education personnel submitted a proposal for piloting a new private research-oriented university to state leaders.
Shi envisioned an ideal university that could attract a large number of top scientists in the world to engage in cutting-edge research, deliver the most meaningful scientific achievements and cultivate the best young students in the next five or ten years.
Such university is expected to make significant contributions to the world’s civilization and human progress by exploring the frontiers of science and technology, Shi added.
In September 2017, the first group of 19 doctoral students were enrolled at the university, who stood out from more than 400 applicants and passed strict interviews of the university’s professors. Shi told them that the university aims to cultivate top-notch innovative talents with social responsibility.
In August 2018, the university admitted 120 doctoral candidates. About 5,000 full-time students are expected to be enrolled by 2026, according to the university’s planning. Shi hopes that all teachers and students at the university will join the long journey towards their shared dream.
Westlake University will be a small but versatile research-oriented university, starting at a high level – nurturing doctoral degree students. It is committed to higher education and academic research and cultivating top-notch innovative talents.
Talents hold the key to innovation. China has made great progress in science and technology, but still needs to seek more original breakthroughs in the basic research field. Westlake University needs to cultivate more outstanding scientific and technological talents with great sense of social responsibility, Shi said.
The front gate of Yunqi Campus of Westlake University. Photo by Zhao Yongxi from People’s Daily