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Responding to the Era’s Proposition of High-quality Development with Our Efforts and Contributions- New Year's Message from USST

January 1, 2024

The rising sun is shining brightly in the morning. Every Shanghai-bound ship, passing by within sight of USST, is positioning its spatiotemporal coordinates in the New Year of 2024: beyond the banks of the Pujiang River with passing ships’ sirens sounding loudly on the waters, inside the Garden of Camphor Trees with its green shade and the red walls, the New Day and the New Year are adding radiance and brilliance to each other.
The Great Way is firmly fixed in our hearts, and the general trend is irresistible like a tide moving forward. To build a modern socialist country in all respects, we must, first and foremost, pursue high-quality development. During his visit to Shanghai, President Xi Jinping emphasized that Shanghai should focus on the core mission of building the “Five Centers”, namely National Economic Center, National Sci-Tech Innovation Center, National Commercial and Logistics Center, International Exchange Center, as well as Regional Financial Center, accelerate the construction of a modern socialist international metropolis, and give full play to the leading and exemplary role in the promotion of Chinese path to modernization.
The construction of a powerful country through education is a strategic precursor to the comprehensive construction of a modernized socialist country. Shanghai should take the lead in higher education in cultivating top-notch innovative talents, and in boosting the national, regional economic and social development.
Witnessing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and the great changes unprecedented in the world in the past century, shouldering the huge responsibility of the construction of a powerful country through education, and embarking on the path of the reforms in cultivating top-notch innovative talents, and boosting the national, regional economic and social development, USST should not only identify what high-quality development is, but also consider what role USST can play to serve Shanghai and the whole country. USST-ers must bear in mind what we can do for our country, and what we should do for our country, namely, reflection, change, reform and innovation.
To promote high-quality development, we must optimize the layout of disciplines and majors, with a focus on the cultivation of cutting-edge disciplines with the aim to be listed as the national first-class disciplines. Based on strategic needs, we must also adjust and optimize the majors or orientation of our disciplines, adjust and optimize our master’s degree and doctor’s degree programs in engineering, and make breakthroughs in both professional doctor’s degree programs and doctor’s degree programs in basic discipline.
To promote high-quality development, we must take outstanding engineering education as the guide to improve talent cultivation. We should also spare no efforts to strengthen the co-coordinated mechanism between university, research and industry, explore new ways to deepen the construction of the College of Excellent Engineers. We should integrate the mini-lectures, summer and winter sessions, as well as joint programs with enterprises to build a task- and project-driven paradigm for cultivating engineering talents in simulated production environments. We also should explore the top-notch innovative talent cultivation model epitomized by the “Gezhi Innovation Class” under the supervision of the academicians.
To promote high-quality development, we need to strengthen innovation in science and technology to cultivate “new quality productivity.” The focus should be on quantum bio-medicine, artificial intelligence, photo-catalysis, energy materials and other fields in order to forge cutting-edge expertise and establish launching platforms for future accomplishments. We should lead and participate in the construction of innovation ecosystem, organize large teams, projects and platforms, promote the deep integration of the innovation, industry and talents, and explore the long-term mechanism of integration between science and education, and between industry and education. Greater emphasis should be on the reform of university science and technology parks, and on promoting the transfer and application of scientific and technological achievements.
To promote high-quality development, we need to embrace the development of the country and Shanghai with an open attitude. We should expand cooperation with top universities in the world, with universities and enterprises in the “Belt and Road” countries. We should explore new modes of local internationalization with a view to building an internationalized ecosystem. We should participate in the construction of the Yangtze River Delta Industry-Education Integration Community and contribute a leading role in the Yangtze River Delta integrated innovation initiative. We should expand and deepen the overall strategic cooperation between our university and enterprises, hospitals, local governments and other universities and focus our academic research in above-mentioned fields.
“Change” is the eternal truth in space and time. Orientation toward reflection, change, reform and innovation is the need for high-quality development.
Reform and innovation is by no means a piecemeal approach to small repairs, but a comprehensive and profound systematic project. We should be guided by a systemic view, paying attention to both the specifics and the general, the present and the future. By promoting the integration of education, science and technology, we would initiate our potentials in developing the state-of-the-art technology and science
Reform and innovation is by no means easy, but a tough challenge of self revolution. As Chairman Mao put it, “Revolution is not a dinner invitation,” we have to muster up our courage of “daring to crack hard nuts,” but also to forge the competence of “ being good at cracking hard nuts.” In order to carry out reform and innovation, we have to break through the ideological constraints, remove the weaknesses of the institutional mechanism, break the obstacles of self-serving interests, build a governance system that matches high-quality development and resolutely carry out reform and innovation to the end.
Reform and innovation is by no means a flashy z-turn show, but a pragmatic approach to hit the problem on the head. We should take the reform of education evaluation of “Breaking the Five Onlys” (the evaluation of talents only by academic papers, executive posts, professional titles, diplomas, or awards) as our starting point, improve the two-tier university-college/school management system, resource sharing mechanism, interdisciplinary innovation, practise “no-one-left-behind” policy in the university governance, and pool in everyone’s efforts, respect everyone’s creations, see everyone’s value and realize everyone’s dreams
On the way forward, among our faculty and staff there are explorers who have climbed the academic peak, trailblazers who have embraced challenges, and innovators who have dared to be the pioneers. During the past decade, especially the  last five years of the construction of a high-level university, all of the USST-ers have spared no efforts to forge ahead together, and have made considerable progress in  our enrollment scale, education quality and management efficiency. These achievements have proved that we are on the right track in research orientation and disciplinary adjustment. In the critical period of the construction of a high-level university, we have the confidence and determination, as well as the courage and ambition to be the front-runner in higher education reform.
Three-Year Action Plan for the High-Quality Development of USST (2024-2026) has sounded the horn of a new round of comprehensive education reforms, and set the task list and road map for the next three years. All of us at USST should poll all our wits and establish the widest possible consensus to improve the independent cultivation of talents to support the self-reliance and self-strengthening of high-level science and technology and serve the development of regional society and economy. We will respond to the era’s proposition of high-quality development with our endeavors and contributions and welcome, in pride, the opening of the 9th Congress of the CPC Committee of USST, and present our outstanding achievements as a tribute to the 120th anniversary of the founding of USST
Let’s work together and strive for the best, you, the lovely, the united, and the respectable! An even brighter future is awaiting us!

Wang Lingyu, Secretary of the CPC Committee of USST
Ding Xiaodong, President of USST
January 1, 2024

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