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Peking University starts the Grand Challenges Scholars Program

OCT . 30 2017
Peking University, Oct 19, 2017: Rising to new challenges in the engineering field, the global engineering education community has put forward The Grand Challenges Scholars Program (GCSP). Peking University’s College of Engineering participated in the program via the innovative education center with Globex and other programs. 

On October 17, 2017, the opening ceremony for GCSP of Peking University was held in the PKU Global Center of Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship. An information session about GCSP and presentations of student Innovation and Entrepreneurship projects were also held on that day. Gao Song, vice president of PKU, Professor B.L. Ramakrishna, project executive of GCSP in the National Academy of Engineering (USA), Kang Jincheng, former director of the International Bureau China Engineering Institution, Fu Suiyan, minister of the Office of Educational Administration of Peking University, Zhang Dongxiao, dean of the Engineering College in Peking University and others attended the ceremony..
 

The inauguration ceremony

Today the focus of engineering has shifted from creating products to improving global conditions and social good. The engineering community has put forward 14 grand challenges including developing clean energy, preserving clean water sources, improving urban infrastructure, strengthening cyberspace safety, realizing virtual reality, and promoting personalized learning. Aiming to meet these challenges, 51 academic institutions, of which 46 are Americans and 5 are international, plan to implement the program by the end of October 2017.

PKU’s College of Engineering is the first Chinese university to participate in this program. Before the ceremony, Li Yongmei and Liu Jie, the GCSP project executives, gave a joint lecture about meeting the engineering grand challenges, GCSP, introducing the purport, vision, and general situation of the program. Vice-Principal Wang Jianxiang, who is in charge of undergraduate education in the PKU College of Engineering, communicated with students and answered their questions about the curriculum and course arrangements.

During the ceremony, Gao Song welcomed the guests and students on behalf of the university, and pointed out that the construction of a leading engineering project is one of the key measures for establishing a world-class university. Joining GCSP is an important step for engineering research, as well as the development of the country. The recent growth of China’s economy and its population growth rate bring unprecedented challenges and opportunities. Joining the program brings more advanced infrastructures and valuable experience to more universities in China, and also cultivates high-level innovative research and better professional talents.

Professor B.L. Ramakrishna and Kang Jincheng respectively gave speeches to celebrate the starting of GCSP in PKU. Professor B.L. Ramakrishna spoke highly of the efforts that PKU and its students have made in several areas including establishing engineering subjects, conducting personnel training, and advancing innovative education. He believes that GCSP will play an important role in PKU and achieve good results.

In Kang’s speech, he looked back on his learning in PKU in his early years, and encouraged students to join innovative activities without fear of failing, to try to explore the new world and “engineer their dreams”.  
 
Fu Suiyan, on behalf of the Office of Educational Administration of PKU, expressed her congratulations. She pointed out that PKU adheres to the "education oriented, quality first" concept, which is in accordance with the ‘Strengthen the foundation, promote communication, respect choice and specialize in teaching’ teaching direction of the national government.

Recently, PKU has also made explorations in integrating interdisciplinary talents in accordance with the purport of GCSP. The College of Engineering has launched curricula and projects of high quality, such as Globex, global innovative master lectures, and I-Podium educational cooperation. She believes that GCSP in PKU will become a new brand and will become mainstream in engineering education, which the Office of Educational Administration will fully support.

Zhang Dongxiao expressed his gratitude for the support from the teachers, students and the university. He pointed out that College of Engineering would concentrate on resource integration according to student needs. Engineering is closely related with society and human development. Zhang encourages students to take responsibility, to join the GCSP and to be diligent in innovation.

Wang Shaoxin, a doctoral candidate in the engineering school, gave a speech on behalf of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship team. He shared the entrepreneurial process of “Quality technology”. He stated that Innovation and Entrepreneurship is never easy, so the perseverance and the support from teachers, friends, and the team are very important. He expressed his hopes of seeing  more fellows in GCSP.

the inauguration ceremony

At present, the rise of a new technology industry and the new situation of economic and social developments all provide challenges to the traditional engineering curriculum model., But they also provide opportunities for the development of new innovations in engineering. The start of this program will hopefully promote the transformation of college and university education, interdisciplinary convergence, and interdisciplinary talents.

After the lecture and the ceremony, Professor B.L. Ramakrishna and other guests visited the PKU Global Center of Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the project achievements were presented by the entrepreneurship team.

Written by: Xu Yilun
Edited by: Fu Wenyun, Karen Xu