Known as China’s Silicon Valley, Shenzhen has the benefit of preferential policies and generous investments to facilitate exchanges between academia and enterprises.
“This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone,” says the president of Shenzhen University (SZU), Qingquan Li. “Our outstanding alumni and students have contributed to the tremendous transformation of Shenzhen.”
SZU’s rapid growth since 1983 has been based on a bedrock of collaboration. It has risen to be the third in mainland China, and the 13th in the world among Nature Index Young Universities. It is ranked third among global universities in the number of patent applications since 2018, according to the World Intellectual Property Organization.
SZU has developed China’s first fully automatic chemiluminescence immunoassay analyser, an essential tool in the clinical laboratory for measuring sample concentration, as well as phase-assisted 3D imaging and measurement technologies. These have reaped economic benefits of an estimated 350 million yuan. This, among other technological breakthroughs, is the result of cross-sector collaborations. SZU has been partnering with leading Chinese companies in numerous other projects, including DJI and Tencent.
Apart from innovation, SZU has prioritized projects of national significance, most recently with concerted research efforts on the COVID-19 pandemic. Synthetic biology projects promote national goals, including sustainable food and environmental resources.
Enhancing closer academic partnerships in the Greater Bay Area (GBA) also serves the national interest. SZU is joining forces with 10 other GBA research institutes, and is the first in China to establish an international academy riding on regional strengths. In July 2018, the Greater Bay Area International Institute for Innovations, another first for China, was established in collaboration with the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. With a mission of ‘forging technopreneurs for the future’, it is set to be an international landing platform for overseas partners from the academic, private, and public sectors, nurturing deep-tech entrepreneurs with world-class facilities and infrastructure.
SZU has already incubated 318 start-ups, including five companies with a market value of more than 100 million yuan, and about 30 companies with a market value upward of 10 million yuan. Supporting young talents through enhancing the real-world impact of their research is also grounded in SZU’s growing infrastructure, with more than 11 new laboratories of provincial grade and above built between 2018 and 2020, ranging from big data, artificial intelligence, to health sciences.