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Nankai University

A shining light for higher education in northern China, Nankai University, is one of the country’s most multidisciplinary. Its emphasis on the integration of scientific creativity and application has led to an enviable reputation for research and education.

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Founded in 1919 by renowned educators, Yan Xiu and Zhang Boling, Nankai University is the alma mater of Zhou Enlai, the first Premier of the People’s Republic of China. A shining light for higher education in northern China, this national key university is one of the country’s most multidisciplinary. Its emphasis on the integration of scientific creativity and application has led to an enviable reputation for research and education. As Nankai enters a new century of development, its president, Cao Xuetao, outlines his vision and plans to pursue excellence for the university.

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Since its launch in 1919 as Nankai University’s biology programme, the College of Life Sciences has improved biomedicine via cutting-edge basic life science research. From analyzing protein crystal structures, to developing TB drugs, and immunologic research to inform cancer therapy, scientists at Nankai have transformed approaches to disease prevention and treatment.

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From algorithms that mine medical big data, to intelligent diagnosis systems and surgical robots, a new interdisciplinary field, called intelligent medical engineering (IME), has emerged at the junction of engineering and medicine. The School of Medicine at Nankai University has launched China’s first IME programme to explore this.

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Nankai University’s School of Physics is carrying on the strong traditions started by its creator, and one of the founders of modern physics in China, Rao Yutai.

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Scientists at Nankai University are solving industrial problems by merging cutting-edge optical engineering with conventional electronic information technology.

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Nankai’s College of Computer Science has built on that experience to address national strategic issues by developing technologies in image processing and analysis, big data analysis and knowledge management, as well as distributed computing and 5G network architectures.

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From crane control to brain control, Nankai University’s College of Artificial Intelligence is changing the way we think about AI. Established in 2018 with strong support from the central government and the Tianjin municipal government, the College of Artificial Intelligence has integrated Nankai’s strengths in automation, control, and robotic sciences, and developed AI technologies that can be applied in areas ranging from engineering to biomedicine.

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Data and network security is essential for privacy and security in communication, finance, and all online transactions. In line with growing concerns about cyber security, Nankai University consolidated its research strengths in mathematics, cryptography, and computer networking, and established the College of Cyber Science in 2018. Focusing on secure artificial intelligence technologies, and improving chip and cyberspace security, researchers at the college have developed methods to safeguard software, and ensure data encryption and system security for the Internet of Things (IoT).

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Society is entering an information age driven by software, with billions of people having internet access. As the technological basis for artificial intelligence (AI) and big data, software engineering is having an impact on every aspect of life, including health and nutrition, medical diagnosis and treatment, visual arts and entertainment, and transport. At the College of Software of Nankai University, established in 2001, researchers are meeting the demand for intelligent software, with breakthroughs in AI, cognitive robotics, information security, and bioinformatics, demonstrated in quality journal publications and industrial applications.

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With strong roots in optics and photonics, TEDA Institute of Applied Physics (TIAP) of Nankai University, founded in 2003 and located in the heart of the Tianjin Economic and Technology Development Area (TEDA), is known for combining basic and applied research, as well as interdisciplinary research that integrates condensed matter physics, information science and technology, materials science, and life sciences. It builds on Nankai’s traditional strengths to develop emerging disciplines and industrial applications. Research results are demonstrated in a wealth of academic publications, awarded patents, and prizes, with some findings being applied in major engineering projects.

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Now housing two institutes covering biotechnology and applied physics, TEDA College explores new models for research and education innovation, leveraging Nankai’s strengths and the expertise of its industrial partners in commercializing research.

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“We emphasize public values, capabilities, and innovation,” says Cao Xuetao, the university’s president. “These are integral to our Nankai spirit.” Now, under the ‘make Nankai excellent’ plan, these core ideals are guiding Nankai University toward further greatness.

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Nankai University's College of Environmental Science and Engineering (CESE) is among the earliest providers of environmental science education in China. It is focused on understanding environmental processes and the underlying mechanisms, and developing novel technologies for pollution control. The college's research ranges from environmental geochemistry and toxicology to designing technology for real-time air pollution monitoring. CESE researchers are responding to urgent environmental protection through innovation in wastewater treatment, soil remediation, and resource recycling.

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