Cutting-edge core technology should not be imported, but created and produced 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.
“China’s higher education has made a great leap, but it is still lagging behind in some basic research areas. There are still some breakthroughs to be made and some demands from society to be met,” he said. “So we need to nurture more outstanding creative talent.”
He added that this is the target and direction of China’s educational system in the future and it is also why he and his colleagues have spared no effort over the past two years to establish the new higher education institution in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province.
Westlake University is China’s first private research university specializing in advanced science and technology. Initiated by a group of China’s top scientists and supported by the government, the university grew from Westlake Institute for Advanced Study, which was established in 2016 and recruited doctoral students only. It gained full accreditation from the Ministry of Education last year.
Shi also said the birth of Westlake University is the result of years of effort and represents a huge advance in the country’s higher education system. The goal of the university is to evolve into a world-class institution, small but prestigious, and from an advanced starting point, he said.
The university has received more than 6,000 job applications from all over the world over the past two years, Shi added.
“We finally selected and hired about 100 world-class scientists, and more than 80 percent of them are talented Chinese who grew up in China and came back after study and research overseas,” he said.
The establishment of the university not only enjoys the support of the government, but has also received donations from thousands of Chinese, both at home and abroad, Shi said.
Representing the university, Shi expressed gratitude for all the donors and supporters.
“I believe with all the people working hard together, we’ll build China into an educationally powerful country and realize the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation,” Shi said.