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2020 New Year's Message from Tongji University

December 31, 2019

As a year of great change and  improvement draws to a close, it is time to anticipate the dawning of a  new year where further amelioration and, ultimately, perfection can be  striven for. 

Reflecting on this happy and  peaceful holiday season, we would like, on behalf of Tongji University,  to extend our New Year's greetings to all our teachers and students  (both current and retired); to our alumni at home and abroad; to all  those who care about and support the development of Tongji University;  and to all friends in China and overseas. 

Over the past year, we have  promoted Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics  for a New Era; advanced the spirit of the 19th National Congress of CPC  and of the Second, Third and Fourth Plenary Sessions of the 19th  National Congress; pursued the socialist direction in running the  University and advocated the fundamental role of morality education. We  also promoted the overarching principle of “remaining true to our  original aspiration and keeping our mission firmly in our mind”,  organized a series of activities to celebrate the 70th anniversary of  the founding of the People's Republic, and made progress in  strengthening the development of a world-class university with Chinese  characteristics. 

Tongji University has  traditionally been compared to a sailing boat, onboard which all members  of the University navigate hard towards the same goal. We have ridden  the mighty wind of the new era, and sailed thousands of miles, with full  sail ahead to the future! 

In the previous year, we have made  great efforts to build up a community of “demonstration for the  improvement of CPC”, and a new model of “three Ps in the nurturing of talent”. Our Marxist College was approved  as a key national college, and the University was selected as a  pioneering “steering university” in conducting ideological and moral  education reform among universities in Shanghai. Various reform  initiatives were realized with fruitful results. We passed the mid-term  assessment for the “Double First-class” advancement; and our successful  application for the Shanghai peak discipline of “Intelligent Science and  Technology” will now empower our traditional disciplines  through the development of artificial intelligence. The overall ranking  of the University climbed steadily in various types of university  rankings. In the QS World University Rankings in 2020, the University was the 9th among universities in China’s mainland, and the 1st in Art & Design among  universities in Asia. In Shanghai Academic Ranking of World Universities  2019, our Civil Engineering retained its 1st place among universities in the world for the third consecutive year.

To educate a man in mind and not  in morals is to educate a menace to society; as such moral education  should be imbedded in the impartment of knowledge. In the past year, we  promoted the new pilot model of “three Ps in the nurturing of talent [1]” can balance intellectual, moral  and physical development. Eight freshmen halls made their debut at the  Freshmen College where students were recruited and taught broad subject  areas. A freshmen supervision system has been practiced by which both  the academic college and the Freshmen College provide supervision for both  study and life skills to the new recruits. An interdisciplinary and  integrated undergraduate-graduate model has been created for the  nurturing of talent. A group of intelligent classrooms was equipped to  further improve teaching quality. Tongji students won a large number of  awards in science and technology competitions, innovation and  entrepreneurship, as well as in sports in 2019 and hundreds of students continued to work as volunteers for the China International Import Expo. 

In construction, a strong  foundation supports the raising of formidable pillars. The past year  witnessed tremendous achievements in the team building of the  University. Professors LV Xilin and XU Zuxin were elected as members of  the Chinese Academy of Engineering. Professor LOU Yongqi was elected a  fellow of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences; Professor  Pol D. Spanos, a chair professor of Tongji, was elected an international  member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences; and our alumni ZHAO Yangsheng, MA Jun and ZHANG Xigang were elected members of the Chinese Academy of Sciences or the Chinese Academy of Engineering. Academician[2] ZHENG Shiling won the title of  “the Most Charismatic Teacher” in China, one of ten in the country;  Academician CHANG Qing won the title of “National Outstanding Teacher”;  and the Space Mapping and Remote Sensing for Planetary Exploration  Research Team won the title of “National Outstanding Advanced Team in  Education”. Meanwhile, Mr. LI Rui was awarded the title of “the Most  Appealing Student Tutor” in China, one of ten in the country; Professor  LIU Zhongmin won the “Science and Technology Progress Award” funded by  the Ho Leung Ho Lee Foundation. Eight scholars were honored as  distinguished professors and Young Scholars on the Changjiang Scholars  Program of China. In addition, five teachers received funding from the  National Natural Science Foundation for Outstanding Young Scientists;  twelve teachers from the Outstanding Young Scientists Fund, both  reaching a record high. A total of 33 teachers were in the List of  China’s Most Cited Scholars 2018, ranking 8th in the country. 

When action is guided by  knowledge, it is all-embracing and complete. In the past year, Tongji  teachers and students made remarkable achievements in research in both  addressing major national needs and exploring issues of international  importance. Here at Tongji, we successfully applied for 491 projects  funded by the Natural Science Foundation of China, and 16 projects from  the national major research and development program. Meanwhile, 7 research results won the National  Science and Technology Awards 2018, taking the lead among universities  in China. We successfully applied for five major projects funded by the  National Social Science Fund and major key breakthrough projects funded  by the Ministry of Education, the best record in history. The total  amount secured from the humanities project fund exceeded CYNY100 million, a great progress for  humanities in Tongji. The construction of the China National Seafloor  Scientific Observatory, a major national science infrastructure project  headed by Tongji University, was initiated and the Shanghai Research  Institute for Intelligent Autonomous Systems was making steady progress.  In addition, we established the National Resource Bank for Stem Cell  Translation, the China Intelligent Urban Planning Co-Creation Center for  Urban Agglomeration in the Yangtze River Delta, and the Shanghai  Clinical Medicine Research Center for Infectious Diseases  (Tuberculosis). Tongji teachers and students continued our tradition of  “writing academic papers on our motherland” by providing intellectual  support for the Xiong’an New Area, Beijing Daxing Airport, the  Integrated Yangtze River Delta Development, obstacle detection and  avoidance in navigation for the first soft landing on the dark side of the moon by Chang'e-4, and the rural revitalization of China.

When people work together to  pursue their ambitions in different parts of the world, a neighborly  kinship prevails. In the past year, the University forged its  international partnerships with first-class universities and academic  institutions throughout the world while advancing its strategic agenda  for international exchange and cooperation, which brought about  increasing international academic influence. Professor LI Rongxing was  elected a member of the International Eurasian Academy of Sciences; and  Professor YOU Jianxin a member of the International Academy for Quality.  Jean-Pierre Raffarin, former prime minister of France, and Maimunah  Mohd Sharif, Executive Director of UN-Habitat (the United Nations Human  Settlements Programme) and the Acting Director-General of UNON (the  United Nations Office at Nairobi), and other government and  inter-governmental officials visited Tongji, raising its international  profile and reputation. The Sino-German Institute completed its  transformation successfully, and four new Sino-German research centers  were set up, embodying the University’s new phase of cooperation with  Germany. In addition, we saw a significant improvement in the quality of  international teachers. Professor Bernard Debre, an advisory professor  of Tongji, won a National Friendship Award; and Professor  Polichronis-Thomas Spanos was awarded a medal for the celebration of the  70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.  Increasing numbers of students were registered on  interregional/international exchange programs, among which the number of  undergraduate and graduate students reached 1,536 and 2,500  respectively.

In 2019, the Tongji-Yangpu Basic  Education Group was established and low-rent public housing and  apartments for talented young teachers were put in place. More faculty  and other staff had better health checks, with first-class hospitals  affiliated to Tongji. They also enjoyed higher quality service for their  paid holidays for rest or recuperation. The activity center for faculty  and staff was opened at Jiading Campus; and the activity center for  senior faculty and other staff was renovated at Tongji Village. As a  result of such socially responsible initiatives encompassing schooling  of children, housing, health care, and rest and recuperation, members of  Tongji University felt a greater sense of ownership and enjoyed a  happier life.

All great achievements are the  result of strenuous efforts, and all great things result from a  continuation between the past and the future. In the face of new  challenges, we cannot feel complacent because of our partial victory; we  cannot slow down because of our previous achievements; and we cannot  retreat because of difficulties. At such a new historic starting point,  Tongji people will keep to being committed to become true pillars of the  country. We will remain true to our initial aspiration, keep our  mission firmly in mind, and continue to work hard together for a  brighter future. 

We wish our motherland prosperity,  and the people of our country happiness! We wish all members of Tongji  University a very happy New Year to be filled with health, happiness and  good luck!

FANG Shouen

Secretary of CPC Tongji University Committee


President of Tongji University

The “three Ps in the nurturing of talent” refers to “all people, faculty, family, society and students included, participate in the nurturing of talent from different perspectives”, an initiative advocated by the central government for the purpose of educating the whole person at the university in late 2018.

Members of both Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering are better known as academicians in China, which represent the highest level of scholarship in academia, hence the title of academician, as in the case of Academician ZHENG.