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Tianjin University Heading into a Fruitful Age

 

During the last two years, scientific work in Tianjin University has been heading into a fruitful age, for a large number of remarkable research achievements sequentially coming into being. Among them, the most notable event was at the annual congress of the National Science and Technology Award in 2015, where Tianjin University, as the first group to accomplish its research goals, won a second prize from the National Technology Invention Award and four National Science and Technology Progress Awards. Its total number of awards tied for third place among other colleges nationwide. Soon afterwards, another 27 projects of Tianjin University won successive municipal awards for science and technology (hereafter referred to as S&T). Both for the number of first prizes and total number of awards Tianjin University topped the list in Tianjin. The results beg the question as to how Tianjin University could advance so fast in so many scientific research fields.

The Talent Plan

Tianjin University possesses a special laboratory consisting of a real McDonnell Douglas 82 Aircraft which is the one and only lab with a whole plane. Behind this initiatiuve lies a perennial quest for Talent Recruitment.

Professor Chen Qingyan, an International Academy leading figure in the indoor airflow field, and an expert of National Thousand Plan, was employed as the Professor of the Changjiang Scholar. In the year of 2008, after establishing the research direction for China’s large aircraft project, Tianjin University invited Chen to come back.

Chen was very glad that he could fulfill this ambition for China, in Tianjin University. However, he extracted a price, and what he needed was an airworthy aircraft, which would be the most expensive scientific instrument ever purchased by Tianjin University.

Chen explained that the large aircraft project was tightly bound up with the industrial life of our country. To introduce a large aircraft was to build a scientific research platform using a real cabin environment.

In order to bring in talent, Tianjin University showed great foresight, paying nearly 10 million CNY to buy an MD-82 aircraft, the smooth landing of which restarted Chen’s scientific career at Tianjin University.

Nowadays, the Research Center of Subversive Environment of Cabin Air, led by Chen Qingyan, is well established. It is the first national joint research institute to study air environment’s full value chain in the transportation industry, with its relevant core technology not only applied to the systematic design and experimental verification of air distribution systems in manned space stations, but also used in domestic made regional jet ARJ21 and C919 aircraft. As a matter of course, Chen deserved to be the chief scientist of the National 973 Project as well as the Research of Key Scientific issues of Air Environment Control in large aircraft cabins.

In order to bring together and properly utilize talents, Tianjin University launched a campaign entitled Peiyang Academic Project in the year of 2012. Science and technology constitute active productivity, while persons are the key factor, especially talents, Yuan Yingjin, Vice President of Tianjin University said. To harvest scientific research achievements of high quality, what we needed was someone who had a sense of innovation and social responsibility.

Recently, the list of Innovative Talent Promotion Projects, carried out by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) , has come into being. Seven innovative talents and one innovative team both recommended by Tianjin University made the list, thus Tianjin University tied for third place.

Fruitful Results of Two Focal Points

To focus on the national great strategic plan and to focus on the forefront of S&T are the leading policies guiding scientific work in Tianjin University. Around the Two Focal Points, Tianjin University put forward a working project known as "Up to the Sky, Inside the Earth, Deep in the Sea" and established the Institute of Air and Space, Earth Surface Systems, Marine S&T and Bioscience. It fine-tuned the structure of subjects, in order to construct a new development pattern for aerospace, ground surface and marine technology integration.

As for the aviation and aerospace field, one of the key national research project centers for fuel technology has been established at Tianjin University, the technical index of whose products are comparable with similar products in America, and its advanced technology can entirely satisfy engineering demand. Besides, the research team in Tianjin University has successfully developed an environment control system for the large C919 aircraft, which contributes to fill relevant technological gaps in our country.

To study the ocean, what we need are our bright eyes and some particular tools, hence the Remote Sensing Center of Tianjin University, which is a new S&T development system containing multiple projects. Relying on advanced disciplines in Tianjin University as well as key laboratories of our country and the Education Department, the Center carries out research on interdisciplinary and frontier technology of remote sensing and has become the leader in this domain. Hai Yan, a kind of underwater glider, independently developed by Wang Shuxin and his fellow team members in the School of Mechanical Engineering in Tianjin University, broke through foreign technology barriers and set a number of records for a  China-made underwater glider. Therefore, no sooner had it come out than it aroused huge attention at home and abroad.

Tianjin University established the Institute of Surface-Earth Science recently, aiming at making essential contributions to social-economical demands on Circum-Bohai-Sea research, water resource protection as well as water environment utilization, and at the same time, promoting the development of relevant subjects, such as environtology, chemistry, biology and chemical engineering.

Effective Transformation of the Three Pillars

In January, 2011,a working conference on S&T of Tianjin University was held. During this meeting, Li Jiajun, president of Tianjin University, pointed out that every world first-class university had a center to gather together talented people and promising projects, with a great number of high-technology industries surrounding it. Therefore, Tianjin University would make unremitting endeavors to build up a sound institution, in order to promote the industrialization of scientific and technological achievements.
Five years later, Tianjin University formed the three pillars for a remote research institute, joint research center and technology transfer center for industrialization.

The remote research institutes which depend on Tianjin University, and based on local businesses and services for economic development, have become big bridgeheads to promote technological spillover into the economy. For the past few years, Tianjin University has successively established Binhai Institute of Industry, Wuqing Frontier Center, Qingdao Institute of Marine Engineering, Shandong Institute and many other remote research institutes, covering the Pearl River Delta, Yangtze River Delta, Yellow River Delta, as well as Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei economic district and the Old Northeastern Industrial Base of China.

According to Yuan Yingjin, the remote research institutes, with both well-designed office buildings and excellent teams, have been taking active parts in raising money for industry-study-research cooperation, thus to achieve a reasonable configuration and promote full use of limited resources. Yuan said that every remote research institute in Tianjin University had a high-level platform and high-quality instruments. Meanwhile, those institutes, centered on human talent, will surely set up certain projects to make the most of them. This pattern, to some extent, provided an active support for the construction and sustained development of key disciplines.

The most significant difference of those remote research institutes in Tianjin University among others is that every one of them in Tianjin University has a Technology Transfer Center and a Co-working Space. At the end of February this year, three co-working spaces supported by institutes of certain area was accepted into state-level technology business incubators, according to the list of second co-working space published by the Torch Center of Ministry of Science and Technology.

Taking the Lead in Originality and Innovation on Research

While harvesting fruitful results from multiple scientific research areas, Tianjin University have set their sights on the fields where no one else have studied before, hoping to make major breakthroughs and taking the lead.

Originality was a must for top universities, Yuan said, and only if we reached the very forefront of a technology, could we fully be devoted to eliminating competition on its own. Tianjin University had both obligations and responsibilities to make contributions to original innovation.
A scientific project called Double 60 for short was considered as a big and bold ambition by Tianjin University.

At the end of September, 2015, the Conference of 60 Main Scientific Problems and 60 Major Technical Difficulties was held in Tianjin University. Including material, manufacture, energy, aerospace, ocean, biotics and many other fields, the Double 60 contains urgent issues for S&T workers worldwide to solve and are also the core of 13th Five Year Plan for scientific work in Tianjin University.

The list of 20 main scientific problems in the first-round was picked out from more than 300 topics suggested by all faculties in Tianjin University, including aerospace intelligent manufacturing, atomic scale manufacturing, high-altitude long-endurance power, terahertz photon, photoelectric bio catalysis, earth key zone, deep blue habitat platform, digital ocean, and ship power. These important frontier problems have become the primary focus of Tianjin University, one of the most prestigious science universities in China. Academician Yao Jiannian regarded them as a point where basic sciences and engineering sciences mix together thus bringing forth new ideas.

President Li Jiajun pointed out that Tianjin University would find effective ways to solve those problems. We planned to form 120 S&T innovation teams named the Dream Team, create several research platforms, explore innovative patterns for scientific organization, raise money, cultivate and gather a group of excellent scientists from around the world.

After the conference, Academician Yao had a discussion with other S&T workers in Tianjin University. He said that every time we brought in key projects, it was inevitable to encounter a Ceiling Effect, for the lack of original innovations. So, we were supposed to pay more attention to basic sciences and grab the agenda of the combination of basic sciences and engineering sciences.

Fulfilling the development strategy of Driven by Innovation and letting those original academic achievements be in leading positions are the unswerving goals for S&T workers in Tianjin University to pursue. Yuan said, we believed that across-subjects and across-schools research teams could grow through the combination of different disciplines. In the process of solving those 120 problems, S&T workers in China would certainly apply their wisdom and strength, to provide the whole world a marvelous feast !

 

 

 

 


 

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