Shoulder the Responsibility with Unswerving Confidence And Keep Forging Ahead Towards New Success

The year 2020 is an extraordinary and unforgettable year. It marks the historic convergence of the Two Centenary Goals and drew successful conclusions on building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and on implementing the 13th Five-Year Plan. It is also a crucial year for SJTU to implement the “Double First-Class” initiative at a faster pace. Li Keqiang, Member of the Standing Committee of Political Bureau of CPC Central Committee and Premier of the State Council, visited SJTU for inspection, inquiring about the development of basic research and scientific and technological innovation, having in-depth conversations with academicians and professors, and expressing sincere hopes to SJTU students. We successfully held the 11th SJTU Congress of the Communist Party of China, where we established the multi-aspect development strategy that takes “talents as the power source”, “education as the primary task”, “interdisciplinary innovation as the growth driver”, “openness and cooperation as the higher vision”, and “cultural building as the moral guidance”. The Congress encouraged SJTU members to “take national rejuvenation as their obligation, base student development on education, and foster innovative spirit through all work”. It also accelerated our efforts to create a new development pattern to build SJTU into a comprehensive, innovative and international university. Over the past year, all members of the university and global alumni pulled their strength together and responded to difficulties with tremendous fortitude and resilience, triumphantly scoring a number of encouraging results.

Over the past year, we united as one and fought adversity in close solidarity, making our share in the prevention and control of the coronavirus epidemic. Since the outbreak of COVID-19 at the beginning of 2020, a civil battle against the epidemic was waged across the country. Many SJTUers devoted themselves to the battle for protecting the people. 570 medical staff from SJTU School of Medicine and affiliated hospitals rushed to aid Wuhan, and 180 medical staff went to support Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center, constructing a strong fort to contain the disease together. SJTU also rose to the challenge, turned the crisis into opportunities, and successfully fulfilled the talent cultivation tasks through educational innovations by organizing largescale online teaching for the first time. Many SJTU experts and researchers also joined the battle and made important contributions to tackling key problems in research, providing policy consulting services to the government, and educating the public on epidemic prevention and control. Thanks to them, the international cooperation against Covid-19 was actively carried out, China’s experience in epidemic prevention and control was shared across the border, and large numbers of medical supplies were sent to the epidemic-stricken areas in urgent need. Our alumni around the world made generous donations to the Fight Against Covid-19 Aid Funds with the spirit of responsibility and altruism that has been passed down through generations of SJTUers.  

Over the past year, we focused on the talent introducing & training mechanism and stimulated people’s vitality, achieving remarkable results in building a high-caliber teaching staff. With talents as the key element of empowering university development, we continued to deepen the main strategy of energizing the university with talents, maintain a healthy atmosphere of fostering virtue through education, overcoming bottlenecks with innovation and standing fast at one’s post with dedication, and transform the strength in human resource into the impetus for school running. We upgraded our academic evaluation mechanism strictly following the requirements of the education evaluation reform for the new era, launched the “Leading Talent Cultivation Program” to build a competent and sustainable intellectual crew, and held the 1st Zhiyuan International Young Scholar Forum of SJTU that attracted an increasing number of domestic and overseas talents. We also established the School of Education to explore the new path for the education of teachers in comprehensive universities. These efforts contributed to applying diversified evaluation mechanisms in different categories and constructing an effective multi-dimensional talent training pattern. Furthermore, we continued to improve the administration and service, proactively meeting the needs of the teaching faculty and medical staff.

Over the past year, we have been imparting knowledge while fostering virtue through education and incorporating patriotic education into the talent cultivation plan. We vigorously improved the high-level talent training system, strove to make “Learning at SJTU” a unique brand of Shanghai Jiao Tong University in the new era, and instilled the spirit of “Teaching as a Sublime Cause” into each teacher’s heart. With ceaseless efforts, we have built a whole talent training chain of “Enrollment-Cultivation-Employment-Alumni” and helped to form a mutually beneficial educational pattern. We implemented the Plan for Strengthening Basic Academic Disciplines for the first time, deepened reform in basic courses, and designed a talent training system featured by “solid foundation + patriotic incentive + curiosity drive”. We created interdisciplinary training opportunities by adding 7 new double-degree undergraduate programs and 12 new minor programs. The SJTU Conference on Postgraduate Education was held to facilitate reforms on improving the quality of postgraduate education. Efforts were doubled to consolidate employment guidance at the university and school level, inspiring SJTUers to shoulder greater responsibility and serve national development. More and more graduates chose to devote themselves to working in the central and western regions, at the primary level, and in national key industries and fields.

Over the past year, we kept seeking truth and climbing the mountain of science, striving to overcome key difficulties in academic research. 7 SJTU projects were granted National Science and Technology Awards, among which the project “Independent R&D and Industrialization of Large-Scale Cutter Suction Dredging Equipment” was honored special prize of the National Science and Technology Advancement Awards. SJTU has been ranked first in its number of projects listed in the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NNSFC) among domestic universities for 11 consecutive years, with the number of projects exceeding 1,000 for the fourth year in a row. SJTU was also short-listed to undertake the national project of the NNSFC Basic Scientific Center. Furthermore, it’s not rare to see that articles and papers by SJTU research teams were frequently published in such high-level academic journals as Nature, Science and Cell. In planning the new round of disciplinary development, we deployed advanced research in the three fields of ocean, health and information and tried to cultivate new growth points in interdisciplinary areas. With the strong support of national ministries and commissions and Shanghai Municipality, we carried out pilot reforms on transforming scientific and technological achievements. Additionally, Shanghai National Center for Applied Mathematics (SJTU Center) was established; Field Observation and Research Station of Ecological Environmental Change and Comprehensive Management in Densely Populated Areas of Shanghai Yangtze River Delta and Field Observation and Research Station of Erhai Lake Ecosystem in Yunnan Province were selected into the list of national leading field observation stations; the Ruijin Base of National Facility for Translational Medicine (Shanghai) was officially put into use. The theoretical research and policy consulting abilities of SJTU humanities and social science disciplines also increased significantly; 44 projects received national social science funds, and the number of awarded projects doubled for the fourth consecutive year, reaching a historical high. SJTU China Institute for Urban Governance was approved as part of the first batch of Shanghai Key Think Tanks and its research results have been fully recognized.

Over the past year, we scaled up openness and integration to keep up with the changing times and improved our school running ability while continuously serving society. We dovetailed with regional economic development through efforts including signing strategic cooperation agreements with Zhejiang Province, Henan Province, Chongqing City, and Chengdu City, and establishing Chongqing Research Institute and Inner Mongolia Research Institute. We built Around-SJTU Global Innovation and Entrepreneurial Community, an upgraded version of national innovation and entrepreneurial demonstration base, to lead the high-quality development of university science parks. We have been forging ahead towards building Shanghai into a technology innovation center and promoting Yangtze River Delta Integration with consistent action: the Pudong Campus of SJTU School of Medicine was put under construction; Zhangjiang Science Park and Tsung-Dao Lee Institute projects were steadily advanced; the Institute of Medical Robotics developed at a faster speed. We strengthened SJTU’s role in poverty alleviation and continued to consolidate the gains in helping Eryuan County to get rid of poverty as part of the endeavors to drive rural revitalization. We signed agreements on building SJTU Minhang Campus Education Zone to facilitate coordinated development between the community and the university. We established the College of Smart Energy with State Power Investment Co., Ltd. and the Institute of Marine Equipment with China State Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. to escalate industry-university collaboration. We built One Health Center with the University of Edinburgh, marking a new chapter in international cooperation.

Over the past year, we have made steady progress in educating students through culture and history, carrying forward SJTU spirit through succession and innovation. Theoretical courses on the history of the Party, the People’s Republic of China, reform and opening-up, and the development of socialism were provided to cultivate ideals and beliefs in students and inspire actions in line with the original commitment. Real cases of fighting against the Covid-19 epidemic were demonstrated to arouse students’ deep feelings towards their motherland and ensure correct ideological guidance to teachers and students. We enriched patriotic education with “A Story Tracing Back from Nan Yang”, an immersive play unfolding the history of Shanghai Jiao Tong University. The Wenbo Archive Building was completed, adding a new landmark for the campus. SJTU was evaluated as an “Excellent Institution of Integrated Media for Education”. Serial event “Youth’s Love Confession to the Motherland”, themed activity “Chinese Classic Recitation”, and the short film “Under the Rainbow” featuring poverty alleviation received national acclaim. SJTU alumnus and CAE Academician Huang Xuhua was conferred the State Preeminent Science and Technology Award, showing SJTUers’ ardent patriotic aspirations and selfless dedication. New alumni associations were established in Inner Mongolia, Shaanxi Province, Qinghai Province, Tianjin Province, and Hebei Province; the effect of alumni giving back to the alma mater and supporting talent training has been more evident. Together with continuously improved campus facilities, services and cultural orientation, we have achieved prominent results in educating students in healthy campus culture and a pleasant living environment.

All great achievements are gained through arduous and continued struggle. Despite severe pressure and challenges in 2020, we have been making solid strides with confidence and commitment. We owe our achievements last year to the concerted and tireless efforts of all SJTU faculty, students, and medical staff, to the committed engagement of SJTU alumni, and to the earnest support of friends from all walks of life.

Sharing the merits and pride, we start looking forward to new successes to attain with greater synergy. 2021 marks the centenary of the Communist Party of China and also the first year of the 14th Five-Year Plan. Only hard work will enable us to harvest victories along the way ahead. Going forward, Shanghai Jiao Tong University will follow the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, bear in mind gratitude and responsibility, and exercise the spirit of “seeking truth from facts, leading compeer to headway, striving for higher goals, and keeping up with the times”. As we embark on a new journey to build SJTU into a world-leading university, we will work hard to implement the fundamental task of fostering virtue through education, shoulder the responsibility of serving the national mission, and make greater contributions to securing the new victory of fully building a modern socialist China.

Yang Zhenbin
Secretary of the CPC
Shanghai Jiao Tong University Committee
Chairman of the University Council
Ding Kuiling
Deputy Secretary of the CPC Shanghai Jiao Tong University Committee
Academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences